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Benefits of economic growth only felt in capital cities: Clare O’Neil

Clare O'Neil discusses the future of work at Yahoo Finance's All Markets Summit event on Thursday 26th September. Source: Yahoo Finance

Tough luck if you live more than a 20 minute commute from the CBD, shadow minister for innovation, technology and the future of work Clare O’Neil told Yahoo Finance.

Australians who don’t live in close proximity to the city centre are at a disadvantage, according to the MP.

“The way that economic change is concentrating the benefits of growth in our capital cities is obviously a major issue for people that don’t live within 10 kilometres of the Melbourne and Sydney CBD,” O’Neil said.

“We’ve got to have an economy that supports prosperity right across the country.”

O’Neil, who spoke at yesterday’s Yahoo Finance All Markets Summit event in Sydney, said this is one of the major issues facing Aussies when it comes to the future of work.

And that’s not the only challenge Australians are facing: the shadow minister says white collar workers are being blindsided by the tech revolution.

“We’re seeing technology able to do more and more jobs of people that probably haven’t felt particularly threatened or weren’t really aware that technology was coming in their direction,” O’Neil said.

According to her, one of the areas the government should be “spending a lot more time and energy” in is thinking about the education system, and “whether we are training people properly to take advantage of the benefits of economic change”.

What does the education system need?

O’Neil acknowledged that the education system had “changed enormously”, “to its credit”.

But the area with the most room for improvement, she said, is in the skills sector.

“I reckon anywhere you go in the country, every party in the skills sectors including teachers and students will tell you there’s a lot of quality difference from state to state, institution to institution.

“And, there’s huge frustration from students coming out the other end often having paid a lot of money for qualifications that actually haven’t fit them that well to do the work that is needed.”

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