This research shows that Australia’s economy is now regressing in its use of new technology, with negative implications for productivity, incomes, and job quality.

The report's findings contrast sharply with the common concern that robots and other forms of automation will threaten future job security for Australian workers.

Key findings:

  • Business investment in new machinery (including robots) is weaker than at any point in Australia’s post-war history.
  • Business spending on new research and technology has also been falling in Australia, and now ranks well behind the average of other industrial countries (and even some emerging economies, like China).
  • The average amount of machinery and equipment used by the typical Australian worker has been declining since 2014, and has since fallen by 6%.
  • Because of less automation and innovation, average productivity in Australia’s economy has also been declining for three straight years – also the weakest performance in Australia’s post-war history.
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