We worry about a six percent unemployment rate now but new research suggests that could pale into insignificance by 2030.
An analysis from the Committee of Economic Development of Australia(CEDA) warns more than five million jobs could disappear in the next 10 to 15 years because of technological advancements.
It predicts Australia is on the cusp of a new but very different industrial revolution.
"The pace of technological advancement in the last 20 years has been unprecedented and that pace is likely to continue for the next 20 years," CEDA head Stephen Martin said.
But computerisation and automation could see more than six out of 10 jobs in rural and regional Australia vanish. Automation has replaced some jobs in agriculture, mining and manufacturing, but other areas like the health sector have largely been untouched by technological change so far.
There will be new jobs and industries that emerge but if Australia is not planning and investing in the right areas it will get left behind."Government must lead the way with clear and detailed education, innovation and technology policies that are funded adequately," he says.
Communication Minister Malcolm Turnbull will launch a report on Tuesday showing digital technologies are one of the fastest growing parts of the economy, demanding a further 100,000 workers over the next six years.
Deloitte Access Economics director John O’Mahony says the contribution to the economy and productivity is at risk if the workforce is not adequately equipped with the necessary ICT skills.
The stark warnings come as a new survey found optimism about Australia’s economic performance has taken a tumble.