NAB’s Chief Economist, Alan Oster provides his thoughts on the Australian and Global economy.
The second report in the Catalyst Insights Series, was developed following a roundtable focused on enabling the public and the private sector to work together to create better societal outcomes.
Australia has long been considered one of the most liveable countries in the world. Australians tell us their country is a great place to live and to run a business.
But there’s fear about what the future holds. Will we continue to enjoy the same social and economic fortunes to which we’ve become accustomed?
Pressing issues facing Australia include the impacts of a growing and ageing population, which has ramifications for our infrastructure, our health and education systems, and the supply of affordable housing. And climate change threatens our environmental amenity.
While we might be willing to acknowledge these challenges, as a country we have largely proved unwilling to embrace optimal responses to them. Remarkably, we seem almost disinterested in making the most of the opportunities they present.
For some time now, Australia’s governments and businesses have been talking past one another, or worse. It’s time both committed to an informed, serious dialogue about the nation’s future.
Banks, such as NAB, play a critical role in backing Australian businesses to expand and invest. Australia’s banks also provide the link between the creation of new business and investment models, the testing of their commercial benefit and the unlocking of the capital required to turn ideas into reality.
Among a set of new investment models are those featuring concepts of shared value and impact investment. These direct capital into ventures that generate both financial returns and positive social or environmental outcomes.
Shared value and impact investment initiatives are designed to break down the barriers to effective collaboration across sectors and to replace a chronic focus on short-term investment returns with a genuine interest in long-term social value creation.
In recent years, NAB has had success in issuing green bonds. In March this year, we launched the first social bond to promote workplace gender equality, which was fully subscribed. These successes demonstrate that there’s appetite for investment vehicles that help address social issues. The job now is to turn that appetite into meaningful momentum.
Many Australian businesses have the capacity to develop commercial solutions to the social problems that threaten the nation’s prosperity. For NAB and our customers, the potential for progress is significant.
A New Architecture for Social Good is the second report in the Catalyst Insights Series. The report was developed following a roundtable focused on enabling the public and the private sector to work together to create better societal outcomes.
NAB’s Catalyst Insights Series brings together industry experts and leading thinkers to discuss the issues that are central to securing Australia’s future prosperity. Its purpose is to take ideas beyond the boardroom, to help shift the national conversation in the direction of action and discover possible solutions to some of Australia’s biggest social, economic and community challenges.
The series reflects NAB’s strong commitment to working with industry, business and community stakeholders to support growth and opportunity in an inclusive Australian economy.
Read the first Catalyst Insights Series paper – Reimagining Australia’s Future Infrastructure
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