CEDA Coronavirus update: a message from the CEO

We face unprecedented change as a result of COVID-19 and I am writing today to share an update on what is happening across CEDA’s program and to provide information on how you can continue to access our discussions and research on critical issues at this uncertain time.

Firstly, let me just say we are in completely uncharted territory. None of us could have foreseen the extent of these events six weeks’ ago, much less six months ago, and we are all going to have to continue to deal with the unexpected in coming months. 

I am sure, like me, your focus is squarely on keeping those closest to you, be they family, friends, employees and colleagues, safe and well.  It is for this reason that CEDA has today closed all of its offices around the country and our team will be working remotely for the foreseeable future.  We have a full program of work, however, and the team and I remain fully committed to doing what we do best – creating platforms to share insights on the most important issues and policy challenges impacting Australia.  

While we will be using new and different channels and platforms in the weeks ahead, CEDA is committed to continuing to provide briefings and information for our members, drawing from our wide network of experts and leaders. Now more than ever CEDA must remain a source of independent, expert knowledge and ideas that will help inform the choices Australia faces as a result of unprecedented economic and social disruption.

New channels for engagement in the days and weeks ahead include:  

CEDA livestream – many of you (more than 2500 in fact) tuned in to our livestream last week on the Coronavirus: update, impact and facts – if you missed it you can watch the video here. And we will have more to come on that front traversing a variety of intersecting topics over coming weeks. 

These events will be free for members to ensure you have absolute ease in accessing our content at a time when we are unable to utilise our traditional events platform. We are aiming to deliver two livestream events next week (recognising the fluidity of current circumstances) which will again look at issues through the lens of COVID-19. They will focus on cybercrime and the ethics of crisis. Please keep an eye out for flyers with further details in coming days. For those that had booked to attend an upcoming event, a refund for your ticket will be automatically actioned in coming weeks with no further action required by you.

CEDA membership – you will no longer receive our normal membership renewal notices. We know that for many members this is a challenging time with significant uncertainty and more pressing priorities. The CEDA team will be reaching out directly regarding membership  with a view to ensuring members remain part of the CEDA family/community.

Trustee boardroom briefings planned during March and April will either be postponed or will move to a virtual meeting. The CEDA team will be in contact directly with speakers and any Trustees already registered to attend. We are keen to hear from Trustees regarding preferred discussion and networking formats so that we can meet your needs and interests. Please feel free to reach out if you have ideas.

State of the Nation 2020: crisis and recovery – this will now be two events. We are building a virtual conference for mid-June to incorporate updates from the nation’s leaders across the country and sector specific briefings, followed by a conference at Parliament House at a later date, which address the critical issues for recovery.

Copland Leadership Program – we are working on delivering virtual training units and online mentoring to ensure emerging leaders from our member organisations continue to have an opportunity to upskill during this period.

CEDA research – the themes underpinning our planned research reports for 2020 – data, Community Pulse, immigration and disadvantage – remain important but our agenda will pivot to economic and social recovery with the intention to provide more regular and tightly focused analysis.  There are a number of critical issues, the long term outcomes for which will be determined by the decisions we take in the next three to six months.  CEDA will seek to ensure that these issues do not slip through the cracks.   

Podcasts and video content – you may already have noticed that we have significantly ramped up our stream of podcasts and video content to provide fast turnaround content to assist members.  Content published in the week since my last update includes:

Watch the conversation I had with Productivity Commission Commissioner, Dr Stephen King on mental health during times of crisis and the mental health inquiry.

Listen to CEDA Chief Economist Jarrod Ball speaking with EY Chief Economist Joanne Masters following the RBA’s emergency measures and recent travel restrictions while I spoke with University of South Australia Senior Lecturer, Dr Collette Snowden on strategic communication in a crisis.


Read a blog piece by The Airport Economist, University of New South Wales Business School J.W.Nevile Fellow in Economics, Tim Harcourt who explores how airlines will survive the COVID-19 crisis, while CEDA Senior Economists, Meg Cuddihy and Gabriela D'Souza explore how temporary migrants are being left behind and provide a comprehensive assessment of the sectors and people most in need of government assistance during the COVID-19 economic crisis.

The situation we are facing into requires more than ever that we work together, leverage our insights and look out for one another.  In that spirit, I will continue to send regular updates on how you can engage with us and ask that you please be in touch if there is something we can do - or do better - for you. 

In the meantime, as we prepare to enter this period of an adjusted reality, perhaps it’s time to reflect on the words of NASA Astronaut, Ronald John Garan Jr, who said, “If we can set aside our differences and work together to do something great in space, imagine what we could do by bringing that same level of cooperation and collaboration on the earth’s surface. (...)All of us, every one of us, is riding through the universe together on this spaceship we call Earth.”


Published 24 March 2020

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.;