Scott Morrison, Prime Minister of Australia, presented an optimistic, strong and stable Australia as it emerges from the pandemic, in a special address on Friday to business, government and civil society leaders taking part in the World Economic Forum’s virtual event, the Davos Agenda.
“There is no guidebook for managing this pandemic,” he said. Amid the fog of uncertainty, Australia has charted a unique path through the health crisis. Dubbed the “Australian way”, the country is emerging from the pandemic with one of the lowest death rates and with one of the strongest economic recoveries, he added. “Our goal has always been to save lives as well as livelihoods.”
The world needs a similarly rapid recovery to help close widening gaps in inequality. “COVID-19 has accentuated new divides and risks splitting the world into divergent trajectories,” he said. “We must grow together, not apart.”
Morrison pointed to the decarbonization of the global economy as “one of the greatest shared challenges in the post-pandemic world”. Reiterating Australia’s commitment to net-zero emissions by 2050, he outlined what he called a very Australian, practical approach to driving down the cost of emission-reduction technologies.
In exchange with an aviation business leader, the Prime Minister noted Australia’s commitments to greener travel, and a greener economy overall. “When we make commitments we keep them,” said the Prime Minister, “Our emissions have fallen by over 20 percent.”
“Australia wants to be at the forefront of the new energy revolution, focused on reliable, affordable, sustainable, low-emission technologies,” he said. “We must make technology affordable, scalable and available to developing countries.”
Australia also aims to become a top 10 digital economy by 2030, underpinned by safety and trust. “The online world presents great opportunities but also poses unique risks, especially for women and children,” Morrison said. He announced that Australia has put in place the world’s first eSafety Commissioner, an independent regulator for online safety.
The Prime Minister spoke to the importance of small and medium sized businesses in Australia. Answering a question from a business leader during his session, he said. “The future of small and medium sized enterprises in Australia is tightly linked to their adoption and integration of digital technologies in how they run their businesses.”