Australia is doomed to become a third-world country unless its government starts “something like the Apollo program” to inspire its citizens into becoming a technology economy, Freelancer.com chief executive Matt Barrie told the AFR Innovation Summit 2017.
Australians are “too busy paying off their mortgages and watching Netflix” to realise their economy was missing out on a technology goldrush, Mr Barrie said, which had seen just five American technology companies – Apple, Alphabet, Microsoft, Amazon, Facebook – now generate annual revenues equivalent to half of Australia’s gross domestic product.
The economy would struggle to replace the revenues lost when the mining booms and housing booms inevitably imploded, Mr Barrie said, pointing out that Chinese banks were by some estimates facing $1.7 trillion losses from bad loans.
“Australia is basically a property bubble floating inside a mining bubble inside a commodities bubble inside a China bubble, and that lucky free ride is about to go pop,” he said.
The government was focused on “new ways to tax things” in reaction to its looming revenue problem, while neglecting education with proposed cuts to university funding of $1.2 billion, the biggest in 20 years.
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