Human capital the key focus for national panel

Improving the quality of Australia's human capital has emerged as a key focus of the newly-created National Panel for Economic Reform, which hosted their first meeting in Canberra yesterday.

The panel, consisting of the Prime Minister and representatives from a number of business and union groups, met to develop reforms to drive long-term productivity growth. Members include the Business Council of Australia, the Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry (ACCI), the Australian Council of Trade Unions, the Australian Industry Group and COSBOA.

Members agreed that improving the quality of human capital or workforce is an essential driver of long-term productivity growth and emphasised the importance of preparing and up-skilling Australians to deliver against the needs of the economy. According to a communique  released by the ACCI, this will help the panel advance the national goal of ensuring that GDP per person is in the world's top 10 by 2025.

"The skills and education system plays a critical role in delivering sustainably higher living standards through forming one of the five pillars of productivity," stated the communique.

"Skills and education create social and economic benefits through enhancing civil society, providing greater opportunities and generally improving life outcomes."

The main system objectives improving the skills and education system in Australia were listed as:

  • Achieving sustainably high living standards,
  • Leading productive and rewarding lives,
  • Allowing the economy to be globally competitive; and
  • Enriching society

The panel will next meet in late April to discuss the objectives and topics in more detail.

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