Economy // Workforce | Skills

CEDA CEO update: 14 September 2020

In this week's update, CEDA CEO Melinda Cilento talks about how to drive our jobs recovery.

With the Federal Budget only three weeks away, CEDA has just released the latest in its Recovery: coming back better series addressing policies that can help drive the economy as we emerge from the pandemic. In this report, members of CEDA's Council on Economic Policy (CCEP) present ideas about how to boost employment, offering practical ideas on the way forward.

Labour market policy after COVID-19 looks at the critical issues shaping the jobs market including migration, gender, long-term unemployment and youth employment. Read it here.

The report urges the Federal Government to promote migration as a key plank of the recovery, and calls for the Government to extend the JobKeeper and JobSeeker payments to temporary migrants such as students and those on skilled work visas.

Migration has been a key driver of Australia’s economic development and will remain so in the decades ahead. Migrants pay taxes, help create jobs and make significant contributions to society. We must not turn our backs on them during this one-in-100-year crisis.

The report also looks at the need to address gender inequality to supercharge recovery. There is a growing understanding in the community that there should be more financial support for early childhood education, which has been hard hit by the pandemic. Ideally, universal access to childcare would be on the table. In the meantime, optimising the current Child Care Subsidy, as suggested by The Front Project in their recent report and on our blog here, is a good starting point.

We’ve had a fair amount of media interest in the papers, including an interview on ABC Radio National Breakfast with our Chief Economist Jarrod Ball available here.

Business will of course be crucial to driving the jobs recovery, and CEDA welcomes Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews’ announcement of a coronavirus business support package worth almost $3 billion for the state, including more than $1.1 billion in cash grants for small and medium-sized businesses. As the hardest hit state, rebuilding hope and confidence will be crucial as Victoria moves towards a gradual reopening, and we look forward to hearing more detail on these plans.

Copland Leadership Program

Last week we advertised our upcoming Copland Leadership Program in Sydney, noting it would begin on 6 October and be held in the CEDA Sydney offices. In light of ongoing uncertainties with COVID-19, we are exploring a number of alternatives, including starting a face-to-face program in early November (a delay of one month), or running all or part of the program virtually. If you have not registered and are interested in the program, particularly if there was a later start date or digital offering, could I ask that you please be in touch with Julia Tolj as soon as possible. Further information about the program is available here

I can also advise that CEDA member UTS has agreed to partner with us, so we are now able to host a face-to-face program at the UTS Sydney city campus, which provides us with even more space, including outdoor facilities. We are very grateful to UTS for making their premises available, and hope this will provide more confidence for attendees in the current circumstances.

Watch: this week, we are thrilled to be hosting our first face-to-face event in Western Australia since February. CEDA’s annual Vice Chancellors' panel will examine the challenges faced by universities in a post-COVID world, including what this means for revenue, international students and Australia’s workforce. This takes place tomorrow, Tuesday 15 September, with the vice chancellors of Curtin University, Murdoch University, Edith Cowan University, University of Western Australia and The University of Notre Dame of Australia all speaking at the event.

Still with education, on Wednesday 16 September our livestream The future of Australia's higher education sector will examine the important economic and social contributions of higher education. Federal Minister for Education, the Hon. Dan Tehan, will be speaking, along with University of Technology Sydney, Vice-Chancellor and President, Professor Attila Brings; Group of Eight Australia, Interim Chair and Monash University, President and Vice-Chancellor, Professor Margaret Gardner AC; and Universities Australia CEO, Catriona Jackson. Register here.

Further ahead, next week we’ll look at Agribusiness' place in Australia's economic recovery, in a livestream event on Thursday 24 September. Speakers including National Farmers' Federation CEO Tony Mahar and CSIRO Futures Lead Economist, Dr Katherine Wynn. Register here.

Listen: In our latest podcast, CEDA Chief Economist Jarrod Ball and Business SA CEO Martin Haese discuss how regional South Australian economies are finding success amid the pandemic, how supply chains have been affected, and how the SA and federal governments have handled the crisis. Listen here.

Read: as Sydney University Associate Professor Elizabeth Hill argues in her chapter for Labour market policy after COVID-19, ensuring accessible, affordable childcare for all is crucial to an effective and equitable COVID-19 recovery. As mentioned above, last week on the CEDA blog, Front Project Chief Executive Jane Hunt discussed recent research conducted with KPMG that builds on this idea, by showing how expanding the Child Care Subsidy can support working families and significantly boost the economy. Read that blog piece here.

Leadership team profile

Following last week’s profile of our Director, Partnerships and Collaboration, Hamilton Calder, you can read our profile our Director, People and Culture, Belinda Gleeson here.


We are happy to be welcoming another new state member to the CEDA community. And thank you again to our renewing members this week.

New member
WAI Group (WA)

Renewing members
Executive Leadership Connection (SA)
NGIS Australia (WA)
NSW Department of Customer Service (NSW)
NSW Department of Planning, Industry and Environment (NSW)
Victorian Department of Premier and Cabinet (VIC)
Wesfarmers Chemicals, Energy & Fertilisers (WA)
As always, stay safe.

Melinda Cilento


About CEDA

CEDA – the Committee for Economic Development of Australia – is an independent, not-for-profit membership organisation.

We identify policy issues that matter for Australia’s future. We work to drive policies that deliver better economic, social and environmental outcomes for Australia. We deliver on our purpose by: Leveraging insights from our members to identify and understand the most important issues Australia faces. Facilitating collaboration and idea sharing to invoke imaginative, innovative and progressive policy solutions. Providing a platform to stimulate thinking, raise new ideas and debate critical and challenging issues. Influencing decision makers in government, business and the community by delivering objective information and expert analysis and advocating in support of our positions. CEDA's membership spans every state and territory and includes Australia's leading businesses, community organisations, government departments and academic institutions. The organisation was founded in 1960 by leading economist Sir Douglas Copland, and his legacy of applying economic analysis to practical problems to aid the development of Australia continues as we celebrate 60 years of influence, reform and impact across the nation.;