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Construction industry profile: impacts now and for the future

Mark McCrindle

Presented by: Mark McCrindle, award-winning social researcher, best-selling author and TedX speaker.

Run time: 35:42

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Construction Work Health Forum Podcast Keynote Address

Presented by: Mark McCrindle


Mark McCrindle:

Thanks very much. Wow, an upbeat start to the conference already, which is fantastic. I've been asked to give a little bit of an industry snapshot, a bit of an overview of where things are going and particularly where they will be headed into the future. A bit of a forward forecast, if we look at the big trends and transformations taking place at the moment.

Well the overall trends for the construction sector, as far as injuries and the data in that regard are heading in the right direction. But there is still much more to be done. The construction industry report put out by Workplace Health and Safety Queensland shows that the construction sector is one of the four big sectors that are on the priority list to do more and to reduce some of those injuries. If you look at the injury numbers, the construction sector has the highest rate of all sectors in Queensland. When you look at the time off per injury, it's higher than all other industries. So some challenges in that regard. The harm index rating shows that it's up near the top – at the very top. Mining and manufacturing have a higher harm index, but construction is way up there. So some challenges in that regard.

When you compare the data in the Queensland construction industry to that of the rest of Australia; while there's been, over the last couple of years, a decline in the rest of Australia, it hasn't been as consistent, that decline, her in Queensland. In some years, it has gone up. Now there are some reasons for that. I want to look at some of that and the trends and the background that is creating the current state of play and what the future holds.

I guess if we think about the context in which you're operating at the moment, in which the sector operates and you sum it up with a single word, it would have to be that word change. Because wherever you look, there is change. There's changing generations. There's a changing economy. There's changing, growing population. There are changing technologies. Change in terms of the mix and diversity of the workforce. So a more accurate portrayal of the times and the context and the workforce in the construction industry at the moment is probably not that sort of change; it's more that sort of change. Because it's constant. It's relentless. And it's transformative. We are living and you're operating in unique times.

It's only occasionally in history that you see massive demographic shifts combined with rapid social change and huge generational transitions and ongoing technology trends. When these megatrends comet together within the span of a decade, society and industry can altogether changes. That's what we're seeing at the moment. This decade began in 2010; before apps were around. Before the iPad had arrived. Before social media had become mainstream. Generational Alpha, the latest generation, hadn't even begun being born at the start of the decade. This state and the national population is 10% larger just since this decade began in 2010. We're only about halfway through the decade. We can only imagine what the next half will bring. By the time we're in 2020, that iconic year of the future, that futuristic year; in less than half a decade, we'll be there. We can only imagine what time and the sector will look like. So looking at the changes and the trends and preparing ourselves for those is key to responding to the safety and health challenges in the sector and ensuring that the injury and harm rates go down.

I guess when you look at the background of change in those key areas of transformation, it can create in us a little bit of change fatigue; where we get weary of change and worried by change and almost overwhelmed by the array of changes and regulations and legislation and new technologies coming to the sector. We can almost be resistant to the change; such is the overwhelming nature of it. A little bit like a grandmother I heard about, who was overwhelmed with more buttons appearing on the remote control all of the time and would push too many of them. She kept messing up the programing on her TV. So it was her young grandson who had to come around regularly to reprogram the TV for grandma. After the third or fourth visit, the young grandson found a good solution to grandma's problem. [Long pause] he picked up a bit of masking tape and got her back to all she needed; the channel change and the volume change. She was happy after that.

But that's not always a realistic solution in mainstream life. You can't always get back to how it was or wind the clock back or limit the options. We've got to respond to the realities and the diversity and the changes that we see. In fact, I see another problem emerging as we deal with overwhelming change. Sometimes, it's not change fatigue where we get weary of change. It's at the other end of the spectrum. It's equally negative because we're not responding to the change, but we're not fearful of the change. It's change apathy. We become indifferent to the change. We're not worried about change; now we're just blasé about change. We're not resistant to it; we're just apathetic about it. It has the same response. I heard about a fellow whose job was to pain the line down the side of the road driving the paint truck. But, unfortunately, he wasn't responding to his external environment and just went around any issues that appeared. His job wasn't just to paint the line, but it was to stop and remove fallen tree branches. We have to respond to the environment, to the external realities that we're faced with.

So I want to look at the five transformative trends that are shaping the context in which the Queensland construction industry is operating and how we can respond better in this regard. The first would have to be the demographic transformations taking place in the workforce at the moment. Australia is growing and Queensland is growing. In fact, Brisbane, our third fastest growing city in the nation at the moment. It's a growing state and with the growth in the population comes a growth in the construction; both the residential and the non-residential construction. It was just two weeks ago that Australia hit this new milestone of 24 million people. It was the first time ever in our history we had added an extra million people in less than three years. We're adding record population numbers at the moment and in record time. In 1968, we were at 12 million people, which means we've doubled our population in 48 years. Queensland has more than doubled it in that period of time.

In fact, just a bit of a snapshot of some of the data for you. In the satchels that you have, you might have one of these little infographics. I tried to cram as much demographic information in as I could into this as a bit of a takeaway for you. If you have a look at that, you'll see some unique realities of the demographic growth right here in Queensland. In fact, I put some of it up on the screen here. If we look at the State of Victoria, for example; three-quarters of the entire state lives in the capital city of Melbourne. You move to New South Wales; almost two-thirds of the whole State of New South Wales lives in the one city, the capital of Sydney. But if you move here to Queensland, it's unique in terms of its population diversity. Less than half of the whole state's population lives here in Queensland. In fact, if you have a look at the top 30 cities which I've put there, the largest states of New South Wales and Victoria; each only have six of Australia's top 30 cities. Queensland has 11. Queensland has more of Australia's largest cities than any other state, even though our population of the state is less than that of New South Wales and Victoria. It's a decentralised state. You can see the population right up and down the coast.

Which creates some new challenges in terms of the workforce and the mobility and the travel that workers have in this sector. It creates growth outside of just one city and the whole of southeast Queensland is growing, but up the coast as well. But let's think about Brisbane for a moment and just the size of things. Not only did Australia hit a population milestone this year of 24 million, but Queensland hit its own population milestone this year, hitting 5 million by the end of the year. If we look at where the bulk of the population lives, it is in southeast Queensland.

Let's have a look at Brisbane for a moment. Brisbane total population here is larger than Fiji and Luxembourg and Iceland and Samoa and Tonga and Greenland and Lichtenstein and Narau combined. So larger than all of these countries. Pretty significant population living just in this city. In fact, in the last 12 months, Brisbane has added 40,000 people. Just in the last year. Over that same period of time, the whole State of Tasmania grew by just 1,400 people. Which means Brisbane's adding more people every 13 days than Tassie adds in a whole year. I did choose our smallest state and our slowest growing state, but you just get the sense of growth taking place just here in this city. Yet this is just one of the growing cities right across Queensland. In fact, the growth rate of the Gold Coast and the Sunshine Coast is twice that of the national population growth at the moment. Now as I said, Brisbane is not the fastest growing city in Australia at the moment. Melbourne has overtaken Sydney and now wear's that crown. But I don't think we'd want to be living in Melbourne. In fact, we ran a study recently asking Australians what they love about Australia and what they love about their city. It was a Gen Y fellow, Peter, that summed it up pretty well when he said waking up each day knowing I don't live in Melbourne lifts my mood on an almost daily basis. Hopefully, we can all agree with that.

The second thing I'd say about the workforce and the population and what's creating some of the challenges in this sector and we need to keep our eye on is not only the growth of the state and southeast Queensland and the construction growth that goes with that; but it's an aging population and an aging workforce. If we look at our population profile three decades ago; it used to be called the population pyramid. You had more younger people down the bottom and fewer older people up the top. That's just how it looked.

But if we wind the clock forward three decades to today, you get a sense of the changes. In three decade's time, it won't be able to be called the population pyramid because, by 2045, we'll have significantly more people aged over 60 than aged under 20. With that aging population, we have an aging workforce. We saw – in fact, the minister shared the musculoskeletal data in the sector. Some of the challenges in construction specifically as you have a workforce that will work later in life, knowing that they will live longer in life and have longer in retirement to fund. So we've got that underlying aging workforce that you see in the sector and nationally. At the same time, we've got record births in Australia. We've had that for about a decade now. We've got a large number of young people coming into the sector as well. The construction industry report tells us that one of the areas of concern is not just the older work, but the rate of younger workers where the injury rate is higher, particularly in those 20 to 24 years of age.

What we have is a generation entering the construction sector and starting a working life that will have them working longer and living longer than previous generations have. It comes about, this aging of the population, because of the longevity boom that we're seeing. It's a good news story, this aging. It means we're living longer. Three decades ago, life expectancy at birth took people into the mid 70s. Today, it takes people into the early 80s. In three decade's time, life expectancy at birth will take people beyond 90 years of age. And that's at birth. The longevity forecast increase as you move through those different milestones.

So we've got a generation that will be working longer than previous generations have. So they're younger longer. They're active later in life and working, even in manual roles, longer than we've seen in the past. If you've heard the saying that 50 is the new 60; you can sort of embrace that because that's the demographic fact. We're ten years younger in terms of life expectancy than used to be the case. Forty is the new 30. We can just embrace that, this down aging. Thirty is the new 20. Although I haven't heard anyone say 20 is the new ten. So at some point, that thing breaks down. But generally, we're younger psychologically and in life stage than those years chronologically might suggest.

The third thing I'd say about the demographics that are being transformed is not only is the state and the sector growing and aging, but also changing. We've got massive generational change taking place at the moment. Those who built the sector and built the state and built the infrastructure aptly named the builders, not just in profession, but as a generation; they were a generation of builders after the Great Depression and World War II. The builders have largely eased out of those full time work roles and the next generation, the Baby Boomers, are the leaders and influencers and business owners of today. But Generation X are coming through and moving into those key leadership roles and influencers of today. Generation Y are the household formers of today; starting their families and moving through their work roles. Generation Z are about to finish their studies and start in the sector. And this whole generation born since this decade began, Generation Alpha, are the children of Generation Y; will make up a significant proportion of the workforce over the decades ahead.

At the moment, Generation Z comprise less than one in ten workers. But by the end of this decade – well, in fact, in a decade's time, by 2025, the Ys and Zs together will be two-thirds of the entire workforce. So understanding the massive generational succession – the massive entry of these new generations is key at the moment. Again, I highlight the key priority focus, according to the construction industry report around workplace health and safety, says that the young – there's a focus on young workers and focus on those employees who are more diverse culturally and the older worker as well.

The generational change is important for us to understand. Sometimes, we even struggle to speak the language of that next generation, such is their technology speak; slanguage, we call it. In fact, I put a sentence up here that came my way recently from a Generation Z fellow. He said [fo shiz, my work gig is totes cron. The hours are defs cray-cray, but yolo]. Which does sound like a different dialect of the English language. But I'm sure if you break that down, you can understand what he's saying. He starts off with fo shiz. Does anyone know what that means? [Long pause] for sure. There we go. You're up with this speak. Then he talks about his work gig, which is [pause] his job, yes. Then he says totes, which is short for [pause] – and cron is short for [pause] chronic. Which sounds bad. When you think about chronic injury and the like. But if things sound bad for this generation, they're normally good. Right? If something's fully sick, that's a great thing. So cron is actually – whatever he's talking about, it's fantastic. Defs means [pause] definitely. Cray-cray? Crazy. Yolo? You only live once. There we go. So you've deciphered his little sentence here. It took him a while to get to the point because what he was really trying to say, quite simply, is I like my job. But a bit of a challenge connecting with this next generation.

We've got population change. We've got generational change. We've got more cultural diversity than we've ever seen before. If we look at our total population – people say one in five Australians was born overseas. It's actually more than one in four. If you take our total population and look at that proportion; that, of course, is significant and it's growing. But if you bring it down to a household perspective; not just where the individual was born, but have a look where parents were born. You've got almost half of all households nationally; 46% of all households have at least one parent born overseas.

If we look at the countries from which we've come and now call Australia home; we've also seen some significant shifts from countries that had more of a English language base to countries that are more linguistically diverse. This is, of course, reflected in the changes in the workforce as well. Three decades ago, the top five countries of Australians born overseas included New Zealand in the top five, which we still have, and the other four were all European countries. Whereas if we look at the top five countries of Australians born overseas currently; you've got England at number one. You've got New Zealand at number four. But the other three are countries in Asia. China and India and Vietnam. So this shift from European migration to an Asian migration pattern; that's what's shaping not only the population but the workforce.

If you look at the highest category of visas – so the key reasons that people are coming to Australia as part of that net overseas migration which, you can see in this infographic, comprises more than half of our population growth at the moment. The key reason they're coming is as skilled workers. The sector that has the highest number of 457 visa holders is the construction sector. So this industry has the highest proportion of workers coming in from other countries which is the driving growth factor of our population at the moment and that diversity in language is represented at the moment.

What this means is we've got a global population. Globally connected in this global era. You've got a globally connected workforce as well. We see this cultural diversity even more in the younger generations than the older generations. I put up here three scary symbols for this global generation; those young people today who are connected globally through technology. They speak and respond through symbols, not just written words. In my workshop later, I'm going to unpack how we communicate with this generation. But just thinking about the symbols of this phone-based generation of today; if they see a symbol like that's, that's pretty scary because if you can't get wifi, that's pretty dodgy. That's a fairly scary symbol because if you have to wait more than a second for something to download, that's a major drama. Probably the scariest symbol of all for this global generation is that one. Because if the battery comes to an end, then life as we know it comes to an end and that's a pretty scary thing.

We've got cultural diversity. We've got generational change. We've got demographic transformation. We've got a generation that is socially redefined. The life stages have changed. Think about how it was when we were coming of age. There was childhood. There was teenagehood. There was adulthood. Our system, our schooling was set up on that. Primary school, high school and then the workforce. That has changed today. We've got the kids that are older younger. The tweens, the eight to 12 year olds are sort of like the teens of yesterday. They've got access to information; they're making decisions earlier in life. They're influencing parental decision as well.

But adolescence, while it begins earlier, it extends later in life. The rise of the young adult life stage where people stay at home longer. They stay in education later. They are delaying their own earning years. Marriage, mortgage, children, career; these markers of independent adulthood have been pushed back by this generation. So in a sense, they might be independent from a workforce perspective – you know, working in the sector. But from a domestic perspective, they're still dependent. They're still living at home and so may not be making some of those same independent decisions. This has an impact in terms of how they view themselves and in terms of the responsibilities that they take; the extending of adolescence that we see in Australia. That term KIPPERS sums up the reality of this stay at home generation. By the time the mid 20s become late 20s and they're still at home, that's where the KIPPERS acronym comes in. Which stands for – KIPPERS; it stands for Kids in Parents' Pockets Eroding Retirement Savings. Just thought I'd point that out in case you've got some KIPPERS in your household.

But, of course, adulthood is a time of reinvention and career changing and upskilling and adaptation and down aging as well. This is impacting on your sector as well. The older worker, the retrained worker who maybe doesn't have the physical strength of old, and yet he's coming into the sector or transitioning across trades or to a new role or having to work later in life. So again, some underlying challenges that the sector faces because of these social and demographic changes.

We've got people that are more mobile in terms of where they live. They might have worked in a different state and under a different jurisdiction. Our population has greater geographical mobility today than ever before. We've got a rise in the number of renters. The average renter in Australia stays just 1.8 years per home. Your sector knows well that the growth in our capital cities at the moment – our eastern capital cities is not in the horizontal communities, but the vertical ones. Almost two-thirds of all new housing approvals in Sydney and Melbourne, and Brisbane not far behind, is in the unit and apartment category; the medium and high density, compared to the detached house.

That comes with an increased number of renters who move more frequently. Even though who buy their home aren't living in that home 20 or 30 years like our parents' generation. The average home owner with a mortgage stays just eight years. Then move from the apartment to maybe a townhouse, terrace, maybe upgrade down the track to something else. Those that have paid off their home have stayed longer in their home. But we have more mobility and change which means different regulations and legislation and systems under which they operate. Less connection with their local communities as well. People don't fit within the traditional structures of hierarchy and the leadership styles of old.

Someone's just lost $10, have they, with that phone ringing? That's a good donation to some good causes.

Now this is how leadership used to look. People worked within this chain of command and it was highly structured. It was the command and control model of leadership. Yet that is changed these days, where people are a bit more empowered. Flat structures and self directed teams and not fitting in that same compliance model. You've got a highly regulated industry. The legislation and regulation's grow and you've got a low compliance generation coming in.

So we've got a clash of cultures. They're not as used to sitting within a hierarchical structures. So high regulation meeting low compliance creates some challenges, leadership challenges. How do lead? How do you engage? How do you direct this new generation that don't fit within that chain of command as was the traditional approach? They want a participative and engaging leadership style of today. It doesn't mean leadership doesn't matter. It matters more than ever. But leadership that is going to connect and engage with them.

I was reading a book on leadership by an American writer, John Maxwell. He had a great quote for leaders today. He said, look, if you're leading and no one's following, then you're just out for a walk. A lot of people are leading but no one's following. You've got to bring them along with you. If you don't bring them with you, you end up with some poor outcomes. There's a meme online doing the rounds called you only had one job. It shows what happens when there's not great leadership, like on production lines. If there's not good supervision, you can get the wrong items in the wrong packages. I'm not sure what went wrong with the design team that were putting together some backpacks, but something didn't work out too well. As for the safety team putting messages on roads, they needed a bit more guidance.

Which leads me to this second last area, which is the sector and the workforce of today is vocationally transitioning. We're not only moving home more frequently as a society, there's not only greater geographical mobility; there is greater vocational mobility. The average national tenure now is three years. The average employee stays three years per company. The construction sector has a higher proportion of people working as contractors and independent labour compared to the average sector across Australia. The average Australian, if this plays out three years per employer, over a lifetime, for a school leaver today, it means they will have 17 separate employers in their lifetime. They'll upskill and retrain every three or so jobs. They'll have five separate careers. Based on the matrix I just showed you, they'll live in 15 different homes. That is a lot of change.

The businesses that they will work for or will potentially run are also changing more frequently than ever. I Australia, there are 2.1 million actively trading business. The sector that has the highest number of businesses is the construction sector; 350,000 businesses. The sector which has the highest numbers of entries and exits per year is the construction industry. It has an exit rate of about 15% per annum.

Let me put up the national data here for a moment. If we look at all of these actively trading businesses; 61% don't employ anyone. It's a sole trader, it's a contracting situation. Thirty-nine per cent employ people. Let's break up the 39% to look at what category these businesses operate within. You can see the biggest of the employing category, 27% of them, are micro-employers. That is they employ between one and four people other than the operator. Then you've got small businesses employing between five and 19 people. That's another 9.5% of all businesses. Medium businesses employ between 20 and 199 people. That's their definition. That is just 2.4% of all businesses nationally. Large businesses employing 200 or more make up less than one‑tenth of 1% of all businesses nationally. One of the priority areas that the construction industry report highlights when they talk about high risk employers; they highlight small businesses. The fact, across Australia, is that 97.5% of all Australian businesses employ less than 20 people. In fact, 99.9% of all Australian businesses are small to medium businesses. That is represented in the construction sector even more than the average.

So dealing with smaller businesses where cash flow is tight and where they don't have the hierarchy and the safety regimes, they don't have as many staff – you can get some greater challenges. That you see in Australia generally. And you see in the construction industry specifically.

If you look at the three survival rates – take a sampling of all of those businesses based on their numbers and look at them three years later. We know that 61% are still operating, but 39% have ceased to operate. As I said, in the construction industry, 15% of businesses cease to trade or exit each year. Now if you look at start ups from the point at which they begin; the survival rate is even worse. Half of all businesses do not make it into their fourth year. Three year survival rate means just 50% of businesses survive into that time. So some great challenges, you see, and some great costs in that regard. But some great priority areas there because of the turnover, the high risk nature of some of these businesses that enter and exist and the small business nature of their category.

When you look at the motivations and the priorities that young people look at when deciding to work for an employer and take on a role; it used to be that people look at survival and security. Is this a well operating business? Are they going to be around for the long haul? Can I trust that my entitlements will be safe? Survival and security was the basics of how people made big life decisions. Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs; you start with these essential issues before you move up to the social and the self esteem and the self actualisation.

We've got a new generation starting their job hunt at the third rung on the list. Don't worry about survival and security. If things go wrong, I'll move back with mum and dad. If the company collapses, I'm sure there'll be some government payment or allowance or something that will look after me. They're not making those decisions based on the bottom rungs anymore. They're looking at the social opportunities in terms of the people with whom they work and the leadership style and the non-monetary rewards and the self esteem, the opportunities for promotion and job training and the self actualisation. Being all they can be in their career opportunities. This is what drives them. Although I see that someone has further updated Maslow's Hierarchy for the 21st century, because there is something even more foundational these days than survival and security. That's wifi. So got to get our priorities straight.

Let me move to the final area, in summary, here. Demographically, generationally, culturally, socially and vocationally, it's a changed sector. It's a changed nation. But finally, technologically, this is integrated into all areas of our life these days and is also transforming the sector. If we think about what has emerged just in the last decade in terms of apps and connectivity and distractions; it's been phenomenal. One-point-five million apps available on the app store. If our social media, if our social connectivity is defined not so much by these sorts of apps but by that device, then maybe time for an upgrade. The Teledex was great but times have changed, have they not? Particularly for this generation starting their working life today. Remember the Teledex? Sat beside the phone on the phone table. You remember you needed a table for the phone? Such was life back in the day.

Well times have certainly changed. We are dealing now with a generation through technology that I would say are global in influence and connectivity. They're digital in terms of the tools that they utilise and where they get their information from. They're mobile in terms of their lifestyle and their expectations. Visual in terms of how they consume content. They're social in terms of who influences them. Not just the experts, but the peer groups. Not just the authority figures, but the friends of friends. That is the network in which they are influenced and share information. So much so, in this digital, connected, social, mobile generation – I see there are new safety signs they're putting up in exit ways to connect with Generation Y like this one. In case of fire, Gen Y, exit building before tweeting about it. No selfies in front of the flames. Let's keep it safe.

So let me summarise all of this and the challenges that you face and the changing terrain in which you operate with four Rs. You know there used to be three Rs of learning in the education system. Three Rs to keep in mind. Two of them weren't even R, so that never worked for me. But I thought I'd conclude with four Rs to keep in mind in terms of communicating, connecting and engaging with the workforce of today in construction to ensure that the safety and health rates improve in the decade ahead.

The first R is the R for keep it real. I think it's about leading by example. We've got a generation that expect authenticity. They're not afraid to question it, to push back and to cut outside of those authority frameworks and say really, are you fair dinkum? Are you walking your talk? Is this legit? They expect to have access to information and to what is happening. Transparency is a mainstream expectation for this generation today. So keeping it real is key. It was safety at work week a couple of weeks ago and I saw an employer keen to get a safety message out to his staff. He had the right idea. He had a good banner, getting a good safety message out. But unfortunately, his manner of attaching it – his example was not quite walking the talk. So it's about leading by example and keeping it real and being that leader in terms of authenticity.

The second R is keeping it relevant. Which means that what we say and how we say it has to connect and communicate with the generation of today who might have a different way of connecting. Might have that cultural diversity. Might have had less experience in the sector. There's been a safety message that they have had around waterways in the US for some time. It used to be relevant, but it no longer is because even the symbol that they've used in the sign has changed. It's time that the sign was updated. It says if you see someone drowning – and that is – well, it was supposed to be a stick figure of someone with their arms raised. But it looks a lot like LOL. To LOL – to laugh out loud? That is not the right response when someone is struggling out there in the water. So had relevance once; it no longer has relevance today. It's about keeping it real and relevant…

…and responding. Being responsive. Which means understanding the external environment. Responding to the realities. Keeping an eye on that horizon for what the changes are. Just because something worked in the past, doesn't mean it worked today. People have shorter attention spans. The life cycle of messages, campaigns, safety communications is accelerated so the decline point hits earlier. .To keep on the upside of that down curve, we've got to respond and adjust and update and refresh and keep our eyes out. Otherwise we'll end up with this guy I saw who was caught in the background of a photo and just was not keeping an eye on the external environment. Which is, of course, essential.

The final R, in addition to keeping it real and relevant and responsive, is to keep it relational. If we can understand our team, understand that culture and shape that workplace culture, that will have a massive impact on the staff and, of course, the safety and health outcomes. When we have those priority areas in our focus, the next generation coming through, the small business, the contractors, labour hire firms, etcetera, high risk groups of employees, those with cultural and linguistic diversity; that is when we start to bring solutions to the situation and bring about some outcomes. That requires that relational connection. After all, it's a world of social media; relational connection, even through technology. Although someone I saw took it a bit too literally with this one. Be the first of your friends to like this post.

I thought I would finish with a final example of what we're dealing with in this world of generational change. I wrote a book called "The ABC of XYZ: Understanding the Global Generations" last year. I put an example of interesting communication and the generation gap that sometimes emerges. This was in the letters section of the local paper. "During breakfast the other day", writes Paul Massey of Northbridge, "our six year old son, Lachlan, decided to make himself some toast. So grabbing a piece of bread and on the point of placing it in the toaster, he said to his mother, Mum, how do I put the bread in? Is it landscape or portrait?" Sort of highlights the generational change and the technological impacts of this new generation. If we can understand all the generations, all of these trends and changes and respond strategically to them, not only will our future be bright, but it will be safe and healthy as well.

I wish you all the best. Thanks for listening.

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