CEDA CEO update: 19 July 2021

The latest round of COVID-19 lockdowns in Victoria and New South Wales is a real blow to Australia’s economic recovery and seems to have brought a more resigned sense of what the months ahead might look like.

The latest round of COVID-19 lockdowns in Victoria and New South Wales is a real blow to Australia’s economic recovery and seems to have brought a more resigned sense of what the months ahead might look like. On the positive side, I hope this latest round of cases and lockdowns serve as a further wakeup call that sees vaccination rates lift around the country and a return to strong policy coordination between governments. We now have a raft of evidence on what works – it would be great to see this formalised in consistent ‘at the ready’ policy and financial response packages. Later this month, CEDA’s Chief Economist Jarrod Ball will release his quarterly economic briefing to trustees, which is sure to provide valuable insight into the evolving situation.

 More broadly on research and policy we have recently agreed our own priorities for the year ahead. We have distilled these into five critical questions facing the nation that we will address through our research, events and digital content:

  1. How can Australia develop and grow a more dynamic economy?
  2. How can Australia leverage the benefits of technology?
  3. How can we build vibrant Australian communities?
  4. How can Australia develop leading workforces and workplaces?
  5. How can Australia achieve climate resilience and regain our energy advantage?

We trust these questions will resonate with your interests and concerns and we look forward to driving debate and policy progress on these important issues. You can watch this short video for more information on the issues CEDA will tackle in the year ahead.

Finally, CEDA was sad to learn of the passing of Mal Draeger last week. Mal was one of CEDA’s longest serving staff members, contributing a great deal to CEDA’s success during his remarkable 35-year tenure. Those who worked with Mal over the years speak of the passion and warmth he brought to all that he did, qualities that have certainly helped CEDA become what it is today. Our thoughts are with his family and friends at this difficult time.


As always CEDA has a range of exciting events coming up.

On 27 July, join Minister for Superannuation Financial Services and the Digital Economy Senator the Hon Jane Hume; Microsoft Australia Corporate Affairs Director Belinda Dennett; and KPMG Futures National Leader James Mabott for an interactive livestream on the opportunities that artificial intelligence presents for Australia. CEDA is excited to be part of driving the conversation forward on this increasingly pivotal topic. You can register to attend that event online here.


This week on the CEDA podcast, I spoke with CyberCX Chief Strategy Officer and former National Cyber Security Advisor Alastair MacGibbon on risks and opportunities for Australia in cybersecurity. We cover a lot of territory, including recent considerations regarding liability in the case of cyber attacks and the need for more enforcement in cybercrime to ‘increase the costs to criminals’, in Alastair’s words. You can listen to that here.

In the media: 

CEDA has been active in the media in the past two weeks speaking on a wide range of issues. In the Sydney Morning Herald last weekend you may have seen CEDA Chief Economist Jarrod Ball discussing the cost of NSW’s construction shutdown.

On Saturday, you may also have seen my letter in The Australian discussing the need for a fundamentally new way of developing and implementing policies and programs that impact Indigenous peoples.

Following comments from RBA Governor Philip Lowe about the impacts of migration on wages, CEDA Senior Economist Gabriela D’Souza told the Sydney Morning Herald the claim that high migration can negatively affect wages isn’t borne out by the evidence.


This week in CEDA’s opinion articles, CEDA Senior Economist Gabriela D’Souza, pushing back against recent comments from RBA Governor Philip Lowe on migration, argues the evidence actually shows a positive link between migration and wages. Read more here.

Also this week, Federal Chamber of Automotive Industries CEO Tony Weber makes the case for a broad, nationally consistent road user charge to replace the taxes currently paid by motorists. You can read that here.


Thanks to our newest Member Accenture Australia, and thank you as always to our renewing members this month.

New Members

Accenture Australia (Elevate)

Renewing Members


PwC Australia


Curtin University

James Cook University

Olam Australia

Port of Brisbane

University of Wollongong



CITIC Pacific Mining


Delegation of the European Union


SAP Australia

Sax Institute

We would also like to thank Government of South Australia for renewing their all-of-government package which includes:

Environment Protection Authority

SA Department for Child Protection

SA Department for Correctional Services

SA Department for Education

SA Department for Energy and Mining

SA Department for Environment and Water

SA Department for Health and Wellbeing

SA Department for Infrastructure and Transport

SA Department for Innovation and Skills

SA Department of the Premier and Cabinet

SA Department for Trade and Investment

SA Department of Treasury and Finance

SA Department of Human Services

SA Department of Primary Industries and Regions

SA Department of the Attorney-General

South Australia Police

Until next time, all the best.

 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.;