Tech and innovation leaders make Jobs and Skills Summit cut


Joseph Brookes
Senior Reporter

Leaders of Australian tech giants Atlassian and SafetyCulture have nabbed two of the coveted invites to this week’s national Jobs and Skills Summit, while the Tech Council of Australia has secured the lone spot for a technology industry group, through its chair Robyn Denholm.

Universities and their academics are well represented among the 142-person list, which has ballooned from an initial plan of around 100 places, but dedicated science and technology research groups have missed out.

Leaders of Australia’s innovation community like universities, professors, tech businesses, researchers, scientists and thinktanks have secured about a quarter of the total places.

Green tech company Sea Forest chief Sam Elsom also secured a spot, after being recognised as one of the country’s best innovators.

Treasurer Jim Chalmers

Half the list is reserved for businesses and unions, which Prime Minister Anthony Albanese and Treasurer Jim Chalmers have ensured have equal representation.

Academics, community organisations, and lobby groups each hold between 12 and 15 per cent of the invites, with state and territory government, super funds and two independent experts making up the remainder.

The 142-person list includes the nation’s six premiers and two chief ministers, but does not count the federal politicians who will attend like Mr Albanese, Mr Chalmers, Industry and Science minister Ed Husic, and Nationals leader David Littleproud.

Opposition leader Peter Dutton and his deputy and shadow industry spokesperson Sussan Ley will not attend, having labelled the Summit a stunt.

Atlassian cofounder Scott Farquhar will represent his software business, which this week laid out plans to hire more than 1000 more technology professionals across Australia and New Zealand over the next 12 months.

He will be joined by fellow founders Luke Anear of SafetyCulture and Sea Forest’s Sam Elsom, who last year won InnovationAus.com’s top award in recognition of his innovative approach to reducing the greenhouse gas emissions from livestock. Both SafetyCulture and Sea Forest are examples of globally-focused startups that were founded in the regions.

The wider tech sector will be represented by the Tech Council of Australia and its chair Robyn Denholm, who also chairs global car manufacturing giant Tesla.

Other ICT industry groups did not secure an invite. Nor did science and STEM groups STA and ATSE.

Professionals Australia, which counts engineers, IT professionals, and scientists among its 20,00 members will be present through its chief executive Jill McCabe.

Universities groups, education unions and individual academics have secured more than a dozen places, including Universities Australia boss Catriona Jackson and National Tertiary Education Union president Dr Alison Barnes.

Flinders University Professor John Spoehr, who directs the Australian Industrial Transformation Institute, has an invite, and will be representing South Australia’s Factory of the Future project to grow advanced manufacturing.

Immigration expert Dr Abul Rizvi and businesswoman Catherine Livingstone have been named on the final list as its only independent experts.

Mr Chalmers said on Wednesday that the new government had tried to strike a balance on representing the Australian economy but said many more people had to be left out

“The reality is you can’t invite everyone that you would like to invite. You’ve got to make some difficult decisions when you’re putting together the invitation list,” Mr Chalmers said.

“Have we got it perfectly right? Who knows? But we’ve got a good representative cross section of the Australian economy and the Australian community, and we can’t lose sight of the bigger picture here, which is trying to find some common ground about our big economic challenges.”

Proposals and agreements from the two-day Jobs and Skills Summit will inform a Treasury economic whitepaper aimed at significant economic reforms. This paper will be open to public consultation.

The full list of invitees:

Dylan Alcott Australian of the Year
Mohammad Al-Khafaji Federation of Ethnic Communities’ Councils of Australia
The Hon Daniel Andrews MP Victorian Government
Luke Anear SafetyCulture
Julia Angrisano Finance Sector Union
John Azarias The Lysicrates Foundation
Cr Anne Baker Isaac Regional Council
Brad Banducci Woolworths
Dr Alison Barnes National Tertiary Education Union
Andrew Barr MLA Australian Capital Territory Government
Karen Batt Community and Public Sector Union
Dale Beasley SA Unions
Debby Blakey HESTA Super Fund
Anna Bligh AC Australian Banking Association
Professor Jeff Borland University of Melbourne
Poul Bottern National Australian Apprenticeship Association
Alexi Boyd Council of Small Business Organisations Australia
Saviour Buhagiar Uniting NSW/ACT
Annie Butler Australian Nursing and Midwifery Federation
Simon Butt Master Builders Australia
Christy Cain Construction Forestry Maritime Mining and Energy Union
Steven Cain Coles
Debra Cerasa Jobs Australia
Professor Sara Charlesworth RMIT University
Scott Charlton Transurban
Melinda Cilento Committee for Economic Development of Australia
Michael Clifford Queensland Council of Unions
Scott Connolly Australian Council of Trade Unions
Tania Constable PSM Minerals Council of Australia
Christine Cooper Independent Education Union
Professor Allan Dale Cooperative Research Centre for Developing Northern Australia
Helen Dalley-Fisher Equality Rights Alliance
Jon Davies Australian Constructors Association
Emma Dawson Per Capita
Robyn Denholm Tech Council of Australia
Georgie Dent The Parenthood
Mark Diamond Rail, Tram and Bus Union
Jenny Dodd TAFE Directors Australia
Lin Hatfield Dodds Benevolent Society
Melissa Donnelly Community and Public Sector Union
Professor Alan Duncan Bankwest Curtin Economics Centre
Adrian Dwyer Infrastructure Partnerships Australia
Gerard Dwyer Shop, Distributive and Allied Employees’ Association
Ben Eade Manufacturing Australia
Brent Eastwood JBS Foods
Terese Edwards National Council of Single Mothers & their Children
Sam Elsom Sea Forest
Scott Farquhar Atlassian
Stephen Ferguson Australian Hotels Association
Dr Cathy Foley AO PSM Office of the Chief Scientist
Steve Fordham Blackrock Industries
Dr Andrew Forrest AO Fortescue Metals Group, The Minderoo Foundation
Professor Anthony Forsyth RMIT University
Andrew Fraser Griffith University
The Hon Natasha Fyles MLA Northern Territory Government
Pat Garcia Catholic Health Australia
Professor Ross Garnaut University of Melbourne and Zen Energy
Dr Ben Gauntlett Australian Human Rights Commission
Professor Sue Gordon Flinders University
John Grimes Smart Energy Council
Correna Haythorpe Australian Education Union
Mike Henry BHP
Luke Hilakari Victorian Trades Hall Council
Leanne Ho Economic Justice Australia
Carolyn Hodge People with Disability Australia
Christine Holgate Toll Group Express
Dr Joanna Howe University of Adelaide
Catriona Jackson Universities Australia
Kate Jenkins Australian Human Rights Commission
Fiona Jose Cape York Institute/Cape York Partnerships
Matt Journeaux Australasian Meat Industry Employees Union
Alan Joyce AC Qantas Group
Michael Kaine Transport Workers Union
Tal Karp The Y Australia
Tim Kennedy United Workers Union
Alison Kitchen KPMG
Dr Sharlene Leroy-Dyer Australian Council of Trade Unions
Megan Lilly Australian Industry Group
Catherine Livingstone AO expert
Jenny Macaffer Adult Learning Australia
Edwina MacDonald Australian Council of Social Service
Erin Madeley Media, Entertainment and Arts Alliance
The Hon Peter Malinauskas MP South Australian Government
Professor Shelley Mallett Brotherhood of St. Laurence
Jill McCabe Professionals Australia
Professor John McCallum National Seniors Australia
Professor Shae McCrystal University of Sydney
Samantha McCulloch APPEA
The Hon Mark McGowan MLA Western Australian Government
Andrew McKellar Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry
Sally McManus Australian Council of Trade Unions
Sarah McNamara Australian Energy Council
Wayne Miller Ceduna Aboriginal Corporation
Carmel Monaghan Ramsay Health Care
Mark Morey Unions NSW
Sam Mostyn AO Chief Executive Women
John Mullen Telstra
Jessica Munday Unions Tasmania
Steve Murphy Australian Manufacturing Workers’ Union
Christine Nixon AO APM Royal Australian College of General Practitioners
Liam O’Brien Australian Council of Trade Unions
Michele O’Neil Australian Council of Trade Unions
Teri O’Toole Flight Attendants Association of Australia
Kelly O’Shanassy Australian Conservation Foundation
Margy Osmond Tourism & Transport Forum
Samantha Page Early Childhood Australia
The Hon Annastacia Palaszczuk MP Queensland Government
Kellie Parker Rio Tinto
The Hon Dominic Perrottet MP NSW Government
Yasmin Poole Youth advocate
Robert Potter Australian Services Union
Anthony Pratt Visy
Mina Radhakrishnan :Different
Tim Reed Business Council of Australia
Jade Ritchie Unions NT
Dr Abul Rizvi PSM expert
The Hon Jeremy Rockliff MP Tasmanian Government
Luke Rycken Australian Youth Affairs Coalition
Paul Schroder AustralianSuper
Cr Linda Scott Australian Local Government Association
Rob Scott Wesfarmers
Tom Seymour PricewaterhouseCoopers
Alex Simpson Westcoast Renewable Energy
Fiona Simson National Farmers’ Federation
Sally Sinclair National Employment Services Association
Carolyn Smith Unions WA
Professor John Spoehr Flinders University, Factory of the Future
Jodie Taylor Supply Nation
Kane Thornton Clean Energy Council
Kasey Tomkins Unions ACT
Pat Turner Coalition of Peaks
Ainslie van Onselen Chartered Accountants Australia and New Zealand
Daniel Walton Australian Workers’ Union
Kate West Arup
Jennifer Westacott AO Business Council of Australia
Lloyd Williams Health Services Union
Troy Williams Independent Tertiary Education Council Australia
Innes Willox Australian Industry Group
Danielle Wood The Grattan Institute
Michael Wright Communications, Electrical and Plumbing Union
Micky Wunungmurra Arnhem Land Progress Aboriginal Corporation
Paul Zahra Australian Retailers Association

Do you know more? Contact James Riley via Email.

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