Australia at 2030 & beyond: a presentation by Bernard Salt AM

Last week, members of the Clarendon community had the opportunity to attend a presentation by Bernard Salt AM.

Bernard, widely regarded as one of Australia’s leading social commentators, heads The Demographics Group which provides specialist advice on demographic, consumer and social trends for business. He also famously popularised the phrase “smashed avo”, which took-off globally after an article he published in 2016.

Bernard tailored his presentation to the Clarendon community – ‘Australia at 2030 & beyond: The skills our kids will need’.

Zoning in on Ballarat, Bernard spoke about the impact of the pandemic on society, including which occupations were favoured in 2016-2021 versus 2011-2016, the ‘Great Appification of Australia’, and how the typical house has developed into a working-from-home space with a ‘zoom room’.

As a demographer, Bernard addressed his love for inventing acronyms. Some of his favourites include PUMCINS, Professional Urban Middle Class In Nice Suburbs, KIPPERS, Kids In Parents Pockets Eroding Retirement Savings and, VESPAs, Virus Escapees Seeking Provincial Australia.

“It is amazing how Bernard can draw on a range of data to predict social change,” said Old Collegian and Board member, Laura van Dyk (2002). “His comments around the changing demographic of Ballarat with incoming migrants and VESPAs was particularly interesting for shaping the future of Ballarat.”

Bernard concluded his presentation with his view that the future belongs to the skilled, technologically proficient, and to those with the capacities to adapt to any situation.

“This will require qualification, competency in sociability and also in entrepreneurship,” said Bernard. “There are skills that are learnt at university or at trade school, but many of the skills of the future are learnt at home and at school. The skills of being self-confident, social, flexible or fitting into any situation are so important, and they will increasingly become more so.”

We are grateful to our sponsors, Hygge Property, Nevetts Lawyers, JB Were and National Australia Bank, who made the event possible.