Economy // International affairs

CEDA CEO update: 9 November 2020

US election result heralds major policy shifts, while RBA Governor Philip Lowe set to address CEDA dinner, CEDA CEO Melinda Cilento shares in latest update.

After days of uncertainty, it is great to have a result in the US Presidential election. Joe Biden’s victory heralds a significant shift on many policy fronts, Senate outcome and temperament permitting. Biden has already flagged an agenda that includes taking more action on climate change and expanding global trade, as well as handling the public health and economic crises wrought by the COVID-19 pandemic. At the top of his priorities will be efforts to address the deep divisions that have emerged in the US and on this front, we wish Biden every success. Any significant policy shifts are of course likely to have an impact on Australia, and it is therefore great to see Australia’s political leadership being proactive in signalling a desire to work constructively with the incoming President and his administration. 

Today we have released a new report, Digitising Human Services, that calls on state and federal governments to build on the rapid digitisation brought on by COVID-19 to help at-risk and vulnerable people during the recovery from the recession. We know that timely and convenient access to human services will be critical as we recover from a crisis that will entrench disadvantage for many in the community. This report highlights areas of low-hanging fruit that can and should be addressed to build change momentum and secure further gains. Australia has no choice now but to use this moment to drive permanent changes to embed technology and data into human services. Read the full report here.

I have also co-authored with CEDA Senior Economist Cassandra Winzar a blog post on the headwinds to long-term growth highlighted in the recent Budget papers, and the importance of lifting workforce participation to lay solid foundations for our economic and social development. This piece builds on our post-Budget calls for a more comprehensive long term-growth strategy for the country. Read that here.

There is significant research on the barriers to labour force participation and many potential solutions have been identified. CEDA is keen to advocate for ideas to deepen participation, and we would like to hear from members interested in supporting these efforts. We are keen to hear the perspectives of our members on this to bolster our analysis and strengthen our voice. If you are interested, please send us an email.

Another new focus of our program of work is public interest technology. Later this month, CEDA will host a special two-day cross-sector digital forum with experts from Australia and abroad to unpack how data and emerging technologies can be used in the public interest to help chart a path to economic recovery. The inaugural CEDA PIT Forum will drive a national discussion on the reforms needed for Australia to become a leading digital and tech nation. It will bring together diverse perspectives from leaders in business and government from three key areas: those who design and develop new technologies, users and those developing policy and regulation. Register to attend here.

Finally, a reminder that next week, Reserve Bank Governor Philip Lowe will deliver CEDA’s 2020 Annual Dinner address on Monday 16 November. This will be one of the first opportunities to hear directly from the Governor about the central bank’s view of the path to economic recovery since it cut interest rates to the new low of 0.1 per cent last week and launched a program of quantitative easing, under which it will buy $100 billion worth of government bonds over the next six months. Register to attend the dinner in Sydney here or to watch the livestream here.

This week, we’ll hear WA Opposition Leader the Hon. Liza Harvey MLA outline the Opposition's vision for Western Australia in an interactive livestream on Friday 13 November as we head towards the 2021 state election. At this event, Liza will be joined by CEDA National Chairman Diane Smith-Gander AO. Register here.

Then next week, join us for an interactive livestream discussion on Tuesday 17 November on Optimising Australia's rail system for the future. Australia has the sixth largest rail network in the world. It plays a critical role connecting markets, cities and regions. Hear how new technologies and innovations in rail transport are driving productivity and resilience, and enabling economic growth across the country. Speakers include: Deputy Prime Minister and Federal Minister for Infrastructure and Transport, The Hon. Michael McCormack; Australian Rail Track Corporation Chief Executive Mark Campbell; and Pacific National Chief Executive Dean Dalla Valle. Register here.

We have two new episodes of The Economists’ Corner for you this week. First up, CEDA Chief Executive Melinda Cilento is joined by The Hamilton Project Director and Brookings Institution Senior Fellow Wendy Edelberg to discuss how the Trump Administration has handled the COVID-19 pandemic and its economic fallout, how to get the most bang for the buck from fiscal stimulus and the fallout from the US Presidential election. Listen here.

Then CEDA Chief Economist Jarrod Ball is joined by Namali Mackay and Peter Horn of Austrade to discuss the US Presidential election, the impacts of Brexit and climate change on international trade and Australia's economic dependence on China. Listen here.
On the blog this week, Western Australian Aboriginal Leadership Institute (WAALI) CEO Anjie Brook discusses the unique challenges that the COVID-19 crisis has posed for Aboriginal Australians and how community organisations such as WAALI have responded. Read more here.

At a series of recent HR roundtables, CEDA members discussed how their workers have adapted to the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic, and what this means for their workplaces in the future. CEDA’s Director of People and Culture Belinda Gleeson shares some of their insights here.
This week we are pleased welcome two new members to the CEDA community – Fogarty Foundation and Futureye. And thank you again to each of our renewing national and state members.
New members
Fogarty Foundation (WA)
Futureye (VIC)

Renewing national members
Commonwealth Bank of Australia
CPB Contractors
G4S Australia and New Zealand

Renewing state members
.au Domain Administration (VIC)
Community Vision (WA)
Shoal (SA)
Star of the South Wind Farm (VIC)
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.;