Former CWU Divisional Secretary (and President of the larger CEPU) Ed Husic has been made Labor spokesperson on issues relating to the digital economy.
The move comes after the resignation last month of former Communications Minister Stephen Conroy who as Minister had responsibility for the digital economy as part of his portfolio.
Labor has now effectively separated the role out from the broader communications portfolio, with Michelle Rowland continuing as Shadow Minister for Communications and Husic adding digital economy and the “future of work” to his existing responsibilities for workforce participation and employment services.
Dealing with this range of areas and issues will be no small task.
While the “digital economy” is opening up new work opportunities – both new jobs and new ways of working – it is also destroying existing ones. The new wave of computerisation and automation which is only just starting to hit economies such as Australia’s will destroy many thousands of current jobs – not only in the services industries, but in manufacturing, in mining and, of course, the communications industry.
A report released last year by the Committee for Economic Development of Australia (CEDA) predicted that up to five million current jobs were likely to be automated by 2030, with nearly 40% of Australian jobs that exist today being at risk.
This prospect is a major challenge for political parties, unions and the community as a whole. The CWU wishes Ed Husic well in his new role and looks forward to working with him to help ensure that Australia continues to provide opportunities for skilled, satisfying and well-paid work to all who seek it.