State of the Nation





 Running for over 35 years, CEDA's State of the Nation provides a day and a half of briefings and discussions of topics and policy issues on the national agenda.

The 37th annual State of the Nation was held at Parliament House, Canberra, on the 10th and 11th of October 2016, with the theme, A new policy agenda: innovation, growth and the future economy. See the full program for State of the Nation 2016.

State of the Nation 2017 will take place on the 5th and 6th of June 2017.

Highlights from State of the Nation 2016

Christine Holgate: Australia should invest more in Asia

Dr Martin Parkinson PSM: Our future will be determined by resourcefulness of our people

The Hon. Bill Shorten: Our enterprise bargaining structure is stuck in neutral

Jillian Broadbent AO: Interface between public and private sectors needs to improve

The Hon. Greg Hunt: Innovation is about productivity

The Hon. Tom Koutsantonis: Budget surplus can be achieved by restrained spending

The Hon. Jason Clare: Australia is falling behind in STEM

State of the Nation videos and news

Keynote address and Q&A with Federal Shadow Treasurer, the Hon. Jason Clare

Read: Digitisation key for growing economy.

Keynote address and Q&A with Minister for the Environment and Energy, the Hon. Josh Frydenberg

Read: Commonwealth and states need to find common ground on energy.


Keynote address and Q&A with Minister for Industry, Innovation and Science, the Hon. Greg Hunt

Read: Innovation drives productivity and better living standards.


Keynote address and Q&A with Minister for Health and Aged Care, the Hon. Sussan Ley


Keynote address and Q&A with Dr Martin Parkinson PSM

Read: Global economy dependent on innovation.


Keynote address and Q&A with Federal Leader of the Opposition, the Hon. Bill Shorten

Read: Australians need to know where they fit in the future economy.


Balancing the budget: Address by  Paul McClintock AO

Read: Budget deficit still grave problem.

Working together on economic reform - State Treasurers panel

Read: Economic restraint delivering for States.

The Hon. Gladys Berejiklian MP, Treasurer of New South Wales

The Hon. Tom Koutsantonis MP, Treasurer of South Australia

The Hon. Tim Pallas MP, Treasurer of Victoria


Megatrends and the innovation imperative

Read: Policy must change in digital age.

  Catherine Caruana-McManus, Director, Giant Ideas, Non-Executive Director, Meshed; Advisory Council Member, SMART Infrastructure Facility

Dr Nicholas Gruen, Chief Executive Officer, Lateral Economics

Dr Stefan Hajkowicz, Principal Scientist, Strategy and Foresight, Data61 | CSIRO

Thinking long-term: can industry seize the innovation opportunity?  

Read: Can industry seize the innovation opportunity?     

Andrew Bassat, Co-Founder and Chief Executive Officer, SEEK

Jillian Broadbent AO, Chair, Clean Energy Finance Corporation and Chair, Swiss Re Life; Director, Woolworths

Christine Holgate, Chief Executive Officer and Managing Director, Blackmores

Strategic choices: Australia's national innovation system

Read: Industry and university links will drive innovation.

Bill Ferris AC, Chair, Innovation and Science Australia

Professor Margaret Gardner AO, Vice-Chancellor and President, Monash University

Dr Katherine Woodthorpe, Non-Executive Director, ARENA, Fishburners; Sirtex Medical; Capital Markets CRC; former Chief Executive, AVCAL; former Commercialisation Australia Board Member

Funding future infrastructure

Read: Community consideration essential in funding future infrastructure.

Phil Davies, Chief Executive Officer, Infrastructure Australia

Mark Delaney, Deputy Chief Executive and Chief Investment Officer, AustralianSuper

Matina Papathanasiou, Deputy Head of Global Infrastructure, QIC   

Social innovation and competition in human services

Read: Why we need competition in human services.

Bessi Graham, Co-Founder and Chief Executive, The Difference Incubator

Professor Stephen King, Commissioner, Productivity Commission and Adjunct Professor, Monash University

Rohan Mead, Group Managing Director and CEO, Australian Unity   

Breaking the rules: policy disruption in the new economy

Read: Disruption and regulation in the new economy.

Lara Olsen, Regional Manager, Business Development, Tesla Energy

David Rohrsheim, General Manager, Uber Australia and New Zealand

Andrew Walduck, Executive General Manager, Trusted eCommerce Solutions, Australia Post

State of the Nation blogs

State of the Nation 2016: VET must be supported through transition or face skill shortages

Our future economy, and the skills needed, is a key topic at CEDA’s State of the Nation conference this year and it is timely given the announcement last week of a long needed overhaul of the vocational education sector. However, the old adage ‘be careful not to throw the baby out with the bath water’, comes to mind at present given predictions of at least another year of turmoil for the sector as changes are implemented.

Read more | Professor the Hon. Stephen Martin | October 2016

State of the Nation 2016: Infrastructure funding - how to pay for the solutions we need

Infrastructure funding and financing are frequently discussed concepts, but getting to the bottom of what they mean can help policymakers find direct and effective ways to meet our future infrastructure needs. The 2015 Australian Infrastructure Audit found that current levels of infrastructure spending in Australia will be insufficient to support our growing population and harness the benefits of our close proximity to the booming economies of China and South-East Asia.

Read more | Philip Davies | October 2016

State of the Nation gallery


See the full program for State of the Nation 2016.

State of the Nation 2017 will take place on the 5th and 6th of June 2017.

Past conferences:

2015 State of the Nation - New economy, old economy

The 36th annual State of the Nation conference was held at Parliament House Canberra on 22 and 23 June 2015 and discussed the changing economy as Australia transitions from old to new.

View the 2015 conference program

2014 State of the Nation: Australia – Open for Business?

The 35th annual State of the Nation conference was held at Parliament House Canberra on 23 and 24 June 2014, under the banner Australia – Open for Business?

2013 State of the Nation: Adjusting Australia

The 2013 conference was aligned with CEDA's major research project for 2013, Australia Adjusting: Optimising national prosperity, and focused on key public policy areas which impact Australia's economic growth.

2012 State of the Nation: Australia Abound

CEDA's 2012 State of the Nation provided insight from experts on critical issues for Australia including the transition of our energy sector, the role of the business community in economic reforms and Budget implications.