01 October 2015

If you’re reading this on the way to work, there’s a better than 50:50 chance that within 10 years you’ll be working for a business that doesn’t exist yet.

The majority of jobs created in Australia over the next decade will be in companies that don’t exist today.

The rise of these new businesses and the creation of new opportunities is just one part of the disruptive, creative force of the digital revolution.

Change is coming, and in many cases is already here.

If we are smart, if we are bold, Australia can own the benefits of this transformation.

We can make change work for all Australians.

We can build new prosperity and discover new ways of learning from each other, working with each other and caring for each other.

As Labor leader, I’ve put our focus on positive plans to prepare Australia for the future.

Labor’s vision is built on ­investing in schools, skills, universities and technology, giving every Australian a head start in the race for the jobs of the future.

Our vision is for a smarter, more prosperous Australia, a more productive economy growing more strongly and more fairly.

In Sydney last week, I ­announced the next steps in our plan to support a new generation of Australian innovators, attract the best minds from overseas and encourage our great expats to return home.

I want Australia to be the start-up capital of Asia.

Our policy, Getting Australia Started, will offer start-up loans to 2000 Australian students through the HELP system each year.

An extra year, similar to a graduate year, to build and fine-tune a new business and prepare it for the marketplace.

It’s a plan to support enterprising graduates with good ideas, helping them to ­develop and commercialise their ­concepts in partnership with universities, as well as private sector mentors and ­investors.

Building this co-operation is important because, right now, Australia trails the world in collaboration between its universities, researchers and businesses.

There’s far too big a gap ­between the world-class ­research we produce and what our businesses use.

Far too many enterprising Australians end up going overseas in search of a first opportunity. My plan is about making sure ideas born here, grow up here and create the jobs here.

There are more than 500,000 new jobs up for grabs in start-ups.

Government has a role to play in securing these opportunities for Australia.

This is not about replacing private investment, or crowding it out.

It’s a matter of fostering a culture of innovation, rewarding people for their good ideas and getting behind Australian creativity and enterprise.

With the mining boom at an end, Labor believes it’s time to invest in Australia’s best ­resource: the ingenuity and talent of our people.

Whether it’s backing startups, teaching coding and computational thinking in schools, supporting technology at TAFE or science in our universities, Labor’s plans are built around a central idea and a simple message.

We believe in the innate ­capacity of the Australian ­people. Our goal is to reward hard work, support good ideas and help every Australian fulfil their potential.

This is how we grow our economy, boost productivity and create jobs.

This opinion piece was first published in the Daily Telegraph on Thursday, 1 October 2015