2017 Economic and Political Overview in Brisbane

2017 Economic and Political Overview in Brisbane

Feb 17
A critical start to the year for more than 30 years, the annual Economic and Political Overview (EPO) brings together political, community, policy and business leaders and provides an economic and political forecast for the year ahead.


Frances Adamson, Secretary, Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade
Michael Blythe, Chief Economist and Managing Director, Economics, Commonwealth Bank of Australia
James Carouso, Chargé d’ Affaires, Embassy of the United States of America
Diane Smith-Gander AO, Director, AGL

Event overview

In 2017 the EPO analyses domestic and international factors, in the United States, in Asia and in Europe, shaping Australian politics and impacting our economy. The Australian Government is in its eighth continuous year of substantial fiscal deficit, circular politics and the unlikelihood of a return to surplus creates increasing concern. In this environment the EPO focusses attention on economic drivers, foreseeable policy shifts, the politics at play and the 2017 growth and response strategies required in States across the country and sectors across the economy.

For up to date insights, keynote addresses and robust discussion to inform your year ahead gather colleagues and guests and join senior leaders at the 2017 EPO. All attendees will receive a copy of CEDA's 2017 EPO report.

In addition to the 2017 EPO forum in Brisbane on Friday 17 February, CEDA presents the 2017 EPO lunch in Townsville on Thursday 23 February.  

Meet the speakers

Frances Adamson
Secretary, Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade

Frances Adamson has served as Australia’s Ambassador to China, in the Consulate-General in Hong Kong during China’s early years of reform, as Chief of Staff to Ministers of Foreign Affairs and Defence, and International Adviser to the Prime Minister. 

Michael Blythe
Chief Economist and Managing Director, Economics, Commonwealth Bank of Australia

Michael monitors, analyses and forecasts trends in the Australian economy. With more than 30 years’ experience in economic policy and financial markets he leads significant research and provides macroeconomic analysis. He was previously Senior Economist at the Reserve Bank of Australia.

James Carouso
Chargé d’ Affaires, Embassy of the United States of America

James Carouso became Deputy Chief of Mission and the United States senior most representative to Australia in July 2016. He was previously responsible for relations with the Philippines, Indonesia, Malaysia, Brunei, Singapore and East Timor. Before joining the U.S Department of State James held senior roles in international banking and finance.

Diane Smith-Gander AO
Director, AGL

Diane Smith-Gander is non-Executive director AGL Energy, Wesfarmers Limited, Chair of Safe Work Australia, Asbestos Safety & Eradication Council, a board member of Keystart Loans, Henry Davis York, CEDA and immediate past President of Chief Executive Women, Australia’s pre-eminent women’s advocacy group.   

Diane has held a wide range of non-executive roles in the past including Chairman of Broadspectrum, Deputy Chairperson of NBNCo, non-executive director of the CBH Group, commissioner of Tourism WA and board member of the Committee for Perth. 

Diane’s last executive role was Group Executive at Westpac; a member of the leadership team of the corporation, responsible for all Information Technology, back office operations, global vendor management and property.  Diane was a General Manager at Westpac for 10 years in the 1990s responsible for back office functions, retail networks and support functions.   

Prior to re-joining Westpac Diane was a partner at McKinsey & Company in Washington and New Jersey serving clients in diverse industries globally.  Diane became a senior advisor to McKinsey in Australia in 2016. 

Diane has been active in sports administration and is a past Chairman of both Basketball Australia Limited, the sport’s peak body, and the Australian Sports Drug Agency, the government agency responsible for deterring the use of performance enhancing drugs. 

Diane holds an MBA from the University of Sydney and a BEc from the University of Western Australia (UWA).  In 2015 she was awarded an Honorary Doctorate of Economics from UWA.  She is a Fellow of the AICD and Governance Institute of Australia and an adjunct professor of corporate governance at UWA where she serves on the advisory board of the Business School. She is also a Council member of Perth’s Methodist Ladies’ College. 

Diane is a keen down hill skier and operates a vineyard in Margaret River. 

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