3 challenges facing Australia this year

3 challenges facing Australia this year

Cover credit: Pixabay

Cover credit: Pixabay

Australia, the world's sixth largest country, is facing new challenges and they’re quite different than the other continents. Check them out below.

1. Aging population

Australia's population has reached 24 million this year. It's a demographic marker sure to trigger debate about the future. But this draws attention to the changing profile of the population, not just the total. Australia's growing longevity is a decisive indicator of national progress. But longer life spans are contributing to a major challenge that officials have been warning everyone about for years: the aging of the population.

One big policy response to Australia's changing demographic profile is the government's plan to gradually lift the retirement age, now 65, in a bid to contain spending on the age pension. That raises an important question: will people be healthy enough to keep working into their late 60s or early 70s?

2. Traffic

A report, titled Delivering Sustainable Urban Mobility, from the Australian Council of Learned Academies (ACOLA) has called on people – not cars – to be prioritized in future planning of urban areas, in order to sustain a high quality of life. Traffic congestion is already costing the economy dearly. Currently, more than 60 percent of children are driven to school – contributing to about 17 percent of peak traffic and childhood obesity.

In monetary terms, the cost of traffic congestion – delays, harmful emissions and stress that results from being stuck at a standstill – was estimated at $13.7 billion in 2005. That was predicted to skyrocket to $53.3 billion by 2031.

3. Industry disruption

New business models entering the Australian market have shaken up traditional industries in recent years – the prime examples being Airbnb challenging hotel chains and ride-sharing service Uber stealing market share from taxis.

Meanwhile, in the entertainment sector, Netflix has swooped in on the customers of Foxtel, free-to-air TV networks and even movie theatres as people look for convenience and access to a greater amount of content.

Instead of relying solely on regulations to protect an industry, organizations should be concentrating on meeting customers’ needs through innovating their services. If companies acknowledge the new market players and position themselves against them on equal footing, it gives them a better chance of shifting to an innovative mindset.

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