Economy // Government | Regulation

CEDA CEO update: 20 July 2020

July Economic Statement – an opportunity to frame stimulus decision making.

It’s a big week for the economists among us, with all eyes on the eagerly anticipated July Economic Statement from the Federal Treasurer, the Hon.  Josh Frydenberg. Suffice to say it’s a pretty tough time to be managing the nation’s economy and finances. This was confirmed by last week’s ABS labour force release, which reported a significant and welcome bounce back in employment. We have recouped around one-quarter of the jobs lost through to May, but nonetheless the unemployment rate has increased to the highest rate recorded since late 1998. These results of course reflect the period before Victoria went back into lockdown, suggesting things won’t be getting any easier just yet.

Despite the challenges and uncertainties, I am hoping the Treasurer’s statement will provide clarity on the government’s key financial and economic working assumptions and a clear sense of the framework underpinning government policy determination at present, particularly as it relates to the temporary business, worker and welfare support measures currently in place but due to expire. This is one the key insights former senior Federal Treasury official Greg Smith called for in his CEDA information paper published in April outlining the need for an early economic statement well ahead of the delayed Federal Budget. Greg is a member of CEDA’s Council for Economic Policy (CCEP) and it is worth revisiting his paper ahead of the Treasurer’s statement. You can find a copy of Greg’s paper here

You might also like to take a look at the first of our economic recovery information papers prepared by our CCEP members and released a little over a week ago on Macroeconomic policy: avoiding the cliff. Prepared by Dr Percy Allan AM and the Hon. Dr Craig Emerson, this paper looks at the broad fiscal and monetary policy options available to avoid an economic cliff in September when Federal Government support measures are due to expire. A copy of that paper can be found here

And if that’s not enough, out today is a paper prepared as part of CEDA’s recovery series, International economics: light at the end of the tunnel?, by Commonwealth Bank of Australia Head of International Economics, Global Economic and Markets Research, Joseph Capurso. Joseph’s paper outlines the international economic outlook after COVID-19 and argues that while the global economy seems to be bouncing back as lockdowns ease, the recovery may soon run out of steam. He also notes that high unemployment, low inflation and low interest rates are likely to characterise the global economy for years to come.

While there is a lot going on external to CEDA, I do want to provide a quick update on CEDA’s restructure. The teams are regrouping well under the new structure, and we do have a number of positions currently open across our membership (Membership Manager NSW and Associate Director, Membership), communications (Media Manager and Content Specialist and Digital Communications Officer) and research and policy (Senior Economist, NSW) teams. You can find out more about these roles here.

While there has been change within our organisation, this has not disrupted the strong flow of content for our members, with a focus on addressing the key challenges and opportunities stemming from the COVID-19 crisis and responses to it, as you can see below.

Watch: tomorrow we have a livestream with financier and Lord Mayor of the City of London, the Rt Hon. William Russell in conversation with Deloitte Access Economics, Lead Partner and CEDA Board member Dr Pradeep Philip on scaling up finance and investment in green recovery measures to transition to a low carbon and climate resilient future. You can still register here.

Listen: I’ve had a couple of very interesting conversations in the last week for the CEDA podcast. On The Economists Corner, I spoke with National COVID-19 Coordination Commission CEO, Peter Harris AO on aviation. The aviation industry was one of the first hit by the COVID-19 crisis, leading to a range of flow on effects impacting everything from tourism to labour mobility. I spoke with Peter about his insights on the Ansett collapse, the likely short and long term impacts on the aviation industry due to COVID and whether or not a short term domestic tourism boost will be enough to sustain the sector through the crisis. You can listen here.
On The Greater Good I spoke with Australian Red Cross CEO, Judy Slater and CSIRO Futures Director, James Deverell to discuss the Australian National Outlook, making the COVID-19 recovery more inclusive, and how the Australian economy can become more adaptable and resilient. Listen to that conversation here.
Read: On the CEDA blog Arup Australasia Chair, Peter Chamley, writes that industry has an obligation to ensure infrastructure spending after COVID-19 is informed by the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals in A sustainable legacy for our post-COVID infrastructure spend.

We also have a piece on Mental health in the age of COVID-19, discussing how we can maintain momentum for mental health reform in Australia and deal with the mental health consequences of COVID-19. The piece is by PwC Director, Economics and Policy, Dr Sharon Ponniah; Strategy& Partner, Damien Angus; and PwC Partner, Stuart Babbage and examines how data, integrated care, better use of technology, and a focus on the social determinants of mental health can drive meaningful reform.

While we in Melbourne remain in lockdown, we are very mindful that elsewhere activity is resuming. We will be looking to bring back our face to face events as soon as possible where we can and will keep you posted on developments on that front. In the meantime, fingers crossed that we see continued improvement on cases here in Victoria and no further significant deterioration elsewhere around the country. 

Finally, thank you to our renewing members this week:

Renewing national member
Asialink Business

Renewing state members
Barton Deakin (NSW)
Four Seasons Hotel Sydney (NSW)
Hawker Britton (VIC)
John Holland (VIC)
Macquarie Group (NSW)
Marubeni Australia (NSW)
North Metropolitan TAFE (WA)
Queensland Department of Transport and Main Roads (QLD)
Reliance Rail (NSW)
Snowy Hydro (NSW)
South32 (WA)
Victorian Department of Jobs, Precincts and Regions (VIC)
WA Super (WA)

Thanks once again to all of our members and the wider CEDA community for your continued support, it is greatly appreciated. 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.;