Foreign Minister Julie Bishop has formally opened the 2017 Crawford Australian Leadership Forum with a speech outlining the challenges and opportunities Australia faces from the rapid changes to technology.
In her opening speech to the Forum, Ms Bishop said Australia's policy makers will be tested in the coming years as the pace of change gathers momentum.
"We are living in an era of profound change, arguably more profound than in earlier phases of the industrial revolution. The nature scope and pace of change at this time is unprecedented in human history," Ms Bishop said.
"Even in the arcane world of foreign affairs I am as likely to text my counterpart or tweet our foreign policy as I am to read a cable or hold a press conference announcing a change in public policy."
Ms Bishop said Australia's history over the past century shows it has transitioned well in times of change and that the Government is working to ensure the economy is able to adapt to the current pace of change.
"Australia has transitioned from an economy dependent on agriculture and produce, to one where less than three per cent of Australians work the land. Change has transformed the nature of work in Australia and at the same time produced an era of unprecedented prosperity," she said.
"The Australian Government is engaging with countries and companies at the forefront of the technological revolution and this will be crucial."
The Crawford Australian Leadership Forum is Australia's leading public policy conference, which brings together 150 experts from politics, government, business and academia.