The Business Council has released a discussion paper designed to kickstart a nationwide conversation about the best ways to shift Australia into the fast lane of growth.

The world is changing around us. Australia finds itself in the crosshairs of several major shifts including the rise of Asia, technological and digital advances and the global adoption of green energy sources.

Our failure to tackle the obstacles holding us back has left the nation out of pocket from where it could have been. That’s the ultimate opportunity cost we all pay for inaction.

With the prospect of a slower growing economy, record public debt, weak population growth and a tax system that will struggle to fund future spending demands, something has to give.

The consequences are real for people: slower wages growth, fewer opportunities and the country will fall further behind its competitors.

Achieving a one per cent increase in productivity growth a year by producing goods and services more efficiently and smarter would deliver an extra $10,000 in average incomes for Australians over a decade.

We cannot continue ignoring the problem. By making the right sets of choices, Australia can shift gears into the fast lane.

It’s time to act and position ourselves to reap the benefits of new high-tech industries and new highly paid jobs while continuing to get the most out of our traditional economic strengths.