Regional/Rural Workforce Transitions for Post-COVID-19 Resilience
Keynote Speech, BEMAS Conference July 2022, Re-imagining Economic Resilience and Urban Futures in the Post-COVID 19 Era
Keywords:Post-COVID-19, Resilience, Workforce Transition, Regional Vulnerability, Decarbonisation
The pandemic has intensified the way we think about global challenges. Humanity now faces a ‘triple conjuncture’ of global crises: climate change and ecological breakdown; a systemic crisis of global capitalism; and the current global Coronavirus pandemic (Gills, 2020). The impacts of the pandemic are not experienced uniformly. They are amplified by social and economic vulnerabilities, labour market structures, precarious employment in some industries, and pre-existing inequities (Babacan et al., 2021, Spash, 2020). Regional/rural economies in Australia have undergone significant structural change and adjustment in the last three decades. Economies also have distinct characteristics and diverse strengths and needs and have been experiencing economic change at different magnitudes, speeds and intensities. Climate change is one of the greatest ecological events of our time. Scientists continue to give dire warnings about climate change amidst major global debate about the nature and extent of climate change. How well a place or region can adapt is complex. A study into the adaptive capacity of regions showed a strong correlation between low levels of adaptive capacity and remoteness (Productivity Commission 2017). Factors that contribute to adaptive capacity are linked to education, skills, levels of income, employment, health, access to infrastructure and services, and natural resources. Alarmingly, most of rural and regional Queensland falls below average adaptive capacity. Addressing future policy and regulatory challenges for the future of work requires a more in-depth understanding of the fragmentation impacts of work, changing employer arrangements and workplaces, and workers’ conditions across different regional/rural locales.
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