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Teleworking: Small answer to a big problem

This week, Deloitte Access Economics and Colmar Brunton issued a report claiming that 25,000 jobs and AU$3.2 billion will be added to the economy thanks to increased teleworking as a result of the National Broadband Network (NBN).

These are small figures when you consider the impact that emerging educated economies in Asia could have on our international competitiveness. Our focus has to be on protecting jobs, surely, more than applauding the modest personal productivity gains brought about by working from home more often.

In this week’s Twisted Wire, Nicki Hutley, chief economist at KPMG, talks about Australia’s falling productivity, and how teleworking can help new people enter the workforce. Kevin Bloch, CTO at Cisco, talks about the sort of technology that will enable this to happen. But I’m left wondering whether we’re dancing around the edges of a bigger question.

By 2020, what exactly will Australia sell to the rest of the world? What can we do that can’t be done more quickly and cheaply in China? Technology will make us more efficient, but most other economies will have access to the same advancements. Surely education and training are the things that will set us apart.

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