CEDA CEO update 26 April 2021

CEDA CEO Melinda Cilento calls for greater investment in the quarantine system and considers some of the issues the upcoming Federal Budget will need to address.  

As I write this message I am buoyed by the news from Western Australia that the three-day lockdown in Perth and Peel will be lifted. While face masks will be mandatory and gatherings limited to 20 people, indoors and outdoors, for the next four daysthe end of the lockdown is positive news 


As a result of today’s decision to limit public gatherings in Perth to 20 people for the next four days, our public event this Wednesday, Delivering on Western Australia's 2030 hydrogen ambition, will instead become a livestream. While we’re disappointed we won’t be able to hold the event face-to-face, it will now be accessible to anyone who is interested in this critical discussion around the country. We will open registrations for the livestream tomorrow. For more information, please email our events team 


This latest COVID-19 outbreak shows there is a clear need to invest more into Australia’s quarantine system to ensure it is fit for purpose. We hope to hear more on this as soon as possibleThe very clear message we are hearing from our members is that we must find a way to open our borders to more, rather than fewer people, including returning residents and citizens, international students, temporary and skilled migrants as well as visitors. We hope to see important commitments on this in the upcoming Budget.   


This will be a crucial but challenging budget for the Federal Government. The economy has so far recovered better than anyone would have expected, but more must be done to get the unemployment rate down to around four per cent, which is what the Reserve Bank now considers to be full employment.   


The mix of initiatives in the Budget will need to be sharply focused on maintaining economic momentum. This will entail continuing targeted support for sectors exposed to international border closures, enhancing the JobMaker hiring credit as necessary to support job creation and labour market transitions, as well as investing in health, aged care and disability to deliver better services and support job creation. The budget should also support the continuing transition back to private sector led investment and employment growth through tax and other settings.   


The foreshadowed focus on care jobs in the Budget is a good place to start. As highlighted in CEDA’s Labour market policy after COVID-19 the boost to direct employment from a 1 per cent GDP investment in care industries is almost five times greater than the direct employment generated by construction investment. 


There are also reports that as part of its efforts to introduce more female-friendly initiatives in this Budget, the Government could spend billions more on childcare subsidies to increase female workforce participation and boost women’s economic security and equalityOptions on the table include boosting the maximum subsidy and increasing the taper rate, and removing the per-child cap on the subsidy. There are also suggestions the Government is considering paying superannuation on government-funded paid parental leave. 


We were among the many who were deeply disappointed with the lack of measures to support women in last year’s Budget. I look forward to seeing what this Budget will offer. 


The CEDA research team will be examining the Budget papers and will prepare a briefing for members 



This week, hear from Australian Prudential Regulation Authority (APRA) Chair Wayne Byres at our hybrid event Strength and resilience in Australia's financial system on Wednesday 28 April. Find out about APRA’s post-COVID agenda as house prices soar around the nation, how APRA will ensure Australia’s financial system remains resilient and how to maintain public trust in it. Register to watch the livestream here. 

Next month, join us for the livestream event on Tuesday May, The future of mental health support and servicesLeaders in the mental health sector will discuss how we can develop a holistic approach to managing mental health for individuals, business and the economy, and what they would like to see in the upcoming Federal Budget. Our speakers include: Lucinda Brogden AM, Chair, National Mental Health CommissionProfessor Allan Fels AO, Patron, Mental Health VictoriaJason Trethowan, Chief Executive, headspace; and Tim Marney, Principal, Nous GroupRegister to watch here. 

And we are delighted to confirm Victorian Treasurer Tim Pallas will address members and guests in Melbourne on Friday 21 May, following the release of the 2021-22 State Budget. Hear directly from the Treasurer about the spending and strategies that will drive Victoria’s future growth. Register to attend the Victoria State Budget briefing here 


In the latest episode of our explainer podcast series Policy Snacks, our Chief Economist Jarrod Ball and Senior Economist Cassandra Winzar discuss property taxesThey ask whether it’s time to abolish one of our least efficient taxes – stamp duty – as house prices grow at their fastest pace in more than 30 years. Listen here. 


Some of the most impressive innovations during the pandemic flowed from community health and services providers, who used their connection to the community to bring help where it was needed most. In an opinion article for CEDAHealth Justice Australia CEO Dr Tessa Boyd-Caine says to build back better, we should leverage this momentum and support the community infrastructure these organisations depend on.  


A big welcome to our new member this week, the City of Cockburn in Perth. We are thrilled to have you join the CEDA community. And thank you as always to each of our renewing members.  


New Discover member 

City of Cockburn 

Renewing Lead members 

Aurecon Group 




Renewing Elevate members 

City of Parramatta 


Deakin University 

Metro South Health 

Moreton Bay Regional Council 


The University of Queensland 

Renewing Discover members 

Adelaide Festival Centre 


Flinders Ports 

La Trobe University 

Mitsui & Co 

NSW State Insurance Regulatory Authority 

Pan Pacific Hotels Group 



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.;