Independence, informed debate, policy influence and reach.

CEDA – the Committee for Economic Development of Australia – is an independent, membership-based think tank. In 2020, CEDA celebrates its 60th anniversary. 

Working with our members, we identify policy issues that matter for Australia’s future and pursue solutions that deliver better economic and social outcomes for the greater good. 

We deliver on our purpose by:

  • Undertaking research to understand the most important issues Australia faces. 
  • Creating platforms to inform, stimulate ideas and promote debate of critical issues. 
  • Facilitating collaboration to inspire innovative and progressive policy solutions. 
  • Influencing decision makers by delivering compelling evidence and recommendations and advocating in support of our positions. 
CEDA has almost 700 members. Our cross-sector membership spans every state and territory and includes Australia's leading businesses, community organisations, government departments and academic institutions. 

At the helm of CEDA is Chief Executive, Melinda Cilento and National Chairman, Diane Smith-Gander AO.

Our history


Formed in 1960 by Sir Douglas Copland, CEDA's purpose was to harness the ideas and influence of leading thinkers from business, government, community and academia.

CEDA has led the way in highlighting emerging issues and new directions from the potential for a GST to be introduced to the National Broadband Network.

Its purpose remains unchanged. Today CEDA continues to deliver leading thinking, informed discourse and rigorous research to influence good public policy for Australia's economic and social development.

Read more about our history.

CEDA activities

Research - CEDA's policy stack

In 2018 CEDA identified its policy stack - technology and data; workplace, workforce and collaboration; population; critical services and institutions. These are issues and areas in which CEDA believes it can play an important role in advancing reforms that will drive progress and connect people to it and will be the focus of CEDA's research and advocacy. 

Technology and data
Australia should put people at the centre of policy to harness the full benefits of emerging technologies.

Workplace, workforce and collaboration
We must invest in people as our greatest asset, enabling skills for a lifetime of work, workplace productivity through positive workplace engagement, and a strong and reliable social safety net.

Australia should establish a strategic and sustainable framework for managing immigration and population growth and settlement across governments.

Critical services
Our priority is to ensure the delivery of affordable and accessible critical services with better outcomes.

CEDA’s aim is to renew key institutions to rebuild trust through transparency and to enable collaboration and innovation.

Events and briefings

Join leaders, be informed and be part of the discussion at one of CEDA’s events, which provide attendees with the opportunity to engage and discuss the economic development of Australia.

From the Prime Minister and Opposition Leader, State Premiers, CEOs of the ASX Top 200 to leading academics, CEDA events deliver top speakers looking at the critical issues for business through almost 300 events annually. CEDA provides a range of event options for members, from intimate boardroom briefings to large public events.

CEDA's regular member only events for employees of member organisations and also Trustee only boardroom briefings for senior executives from member organisations provide a unique opportunity for peer-to-peer knowledge exchange and for speakers and attendees to talk candidly about key issues. At CEDA Trustee events, Chatham House Rule applies.

Flagship and signature events

  • For more than 30 years, CEDA's annual Economic and Political Overview (EPO) events are held in each capital city in February and March to coincide with the release of the EPO publication. The events and publication provide analysis to inform on the economic and political environment which we will be operating in for the year ahead.
  • Each year, CEDA hosts an annual State of the Nation conference in Canberra. State of the Nation is an intensive day-and-a-half of briefings with government and shadow ministers, public servants, commentators and industry analysts, offering an insider's view of the Federal Government's policies.
  • CEDA's Annual Dinner is held each year in November, with a biennial keynote address by the Reserve Bank of Australia Governor.
  • CEDA recognises the leadership and insight of its founder Sir Douglas Copland and responds to the contemporary demands on leaders operating in rapidly changing business environments by delivering the Copland Leadership Program. The program, delivered since 2003, is offered by CEDA in conjunction with leading education and management institutions across the country.
  • Sir Douglas Copland’s legacy of international cooperation is acknowledged through CEDA’s Copland Lecture. Each year, the lecture delivers a high-calibre speaker, with an international angle. 


Almost 700 leading businesses and organisations choose CEDA. The diversity and depth of our membership is CEDA’s key strength. By joining CEDA’s network, you are showcasing your organisation as a thought leader in Australia committed to driving public policy debate.

CEDA membership benefits:

  • Participate in thought leadership: engage and shape policy discussion on the critical issues facing Australia.
  • Engage with colleagues, clients and stakeholders: gain access to significantly discounted rates for you and your guests at CEDA public and member only events. 
  • Peer-to-peer networking: receive invitations to CEDA’s Trustee only boardroom briefings.
  • Position your organisation: profile and align your organisation with CEDA events relevant to your business and expertise.