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2020 Australia Summit

The Prime Minister of Australia convened an Australia 2020 Summit at Parliament House on 19 and 20 April to help shape a long term strategy for the nation’s future.

The Summit brought together some of the best and brightest brains from across the country to tackle the long term challenges confronting Australia’s future –challenges which require long-term responses from the nation beyond the usual three year electoral cycle.

To do this, the Government brought together 1000 plus leading Australians to the national Parliament to debate and develop long-term options for the nation across 10 critical areas:

  1. The Productivity Agenda – education, skills, training, science and innovation
  2. The Future of the Australian Economy
  3. Population, sustainability, climate change and water
  4. Future directions for rural industries and rural communities
  5. A long-term national health strategy – including the challenges of preventative health, workforce planning and the ageing population
  6. Strengthening communities, supporting families and social inclusion
  7. Options for the future of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders
  8. Towards a creative Australia: the future of the arts, film and design
  9. The future of Australian governance: renewed democracy, a more open government (including the role of the media), the structure of the Federation and the rights and responsibilities of citizens
  10. Australia’s future security and prosperity in a rapidly changing region and world.

Participants were selected by a 10 member non-government Steering Committee. The Summit was co-chaired by the Prime Minister and Professor Glyn Davis, Vice Chancellor of the University of Melbourne.

This Steering Committee selected up to 100 participants in each of the Summit areas to attend in a voluntary capacity. The participants were drawn from business, academia, community and industrial organisations, the media and included a number of individual eminent Australians. Summit participants were invited in their own right rather than as institutional representatives from any particular organisation. Each of the 10 Summit areas were co-chaired by a Federal Government Minister and a member of the Steering Committee.

The Summit had the following objectives:

  • To harness the best ideas across the nation
  • To apply those ideas to the 10 core challenges that the Government has identified for Australia – to secure our long-term future through to 2020
  • To provide a forum for free and open public debate in which there are no predetermined right or wrong answers
  • For each of the Summit’s 10 areas to produce following the Summit options for consideration by government
  • For the Government to produce a public response to these options papers by the end of 2008 with a view to shaping the nation’s long-term direction from 2009 and beyond.

In providing this response, the Government in providing may accept some options and reject others – but will provide its reasons for embracing its course of action for the future.

The Government has no interest in a talkfest. The Government’s interest is in harnessing and harvesting ideas from the community that are capable of being shaped into concrete policy actions.

Government, irrespective of its political persuasion, does not have a monopoly on policy wisdom. To thrive and prosper in the future we need to draw on the range of talents, ideas and energy from across the Australian community.

For too long Australian policymaking has been focused on short-term outcomes dictated by the electoral cycle. If Australia is to effectively confront the challenges of the future, we need to develop an agreed national direction that looks at the next ten years and beyond.

For these reasons, the Government also invited the Leader of the Federal Opposition to participate in the Summit, together with State Premiers, Chief Ministers and their Opposition counterparts.

In addition to those participating in the Summit, all Australians were invited to make submissions on each of the 10 future challenges. These were submitted to the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet which acts as the secretariat for the Summit.

The Government believes Australians, whatever their political views, can come together to build a modern Australia capable of meeting the challenges of the 21st century.1

This site is for you the people to talk about what you want to happen and how you think that the summit went.

1. Taken from