Economy // Government | Regulation

CEDA EPO report: 2020 response to short term shocks must be matched by policy action on long term problems

2020 is the year the short term must meet the long term in Australia’s policy focus as we grapple with the immediate impacts of the bush fire crisis, floods and Coronavirus while longer term challenges are catching up with us, CEDA CEO Melinda Cilento said.

Releasing CEDA’s 2020 Economic and Political Overview report, Ms Cilento said while Australia’s record of sustained economic growth and strong labour market were sources of strength, the fact that most risks remain firmly to the downside is concerning particularly as headwinds associated with population ageing and climate change increased. 
“If ever there was a time not to take for granted the strength of Australia’s economy it is now.
“This year is going to require an incredible balancing act to respond to the short-term shocks from events such as Coronavirus and environmental disasters while keeping focus on the longer-term reforms needed.
    CEDA’s EPO addresses the significant uncertainties facing Australia and highlights the importance of governments delivering strong policies to support our economic, environmental and social strength and resilience.”
Focusing on the areas where we can take concerted action and build Australia’s resilience will be vital for building confidence and Ms Cilento said the obvious areas of focus should be ageing, climate change adaption, opportunities to reduce emissions through new technologies, energy and regional development and resilience.
“In addition, data ethics and privacy is an area that is going to increasingly come under scrutiny and robust engagement and forward planning will help maintain community confidence regarding access to and use of data,” she said.
“These are areas were policymakers can effect real opportunity, reduce risk, and also help build community confidence – vital for a strong economy.”
Ms Cilento said these topics were covered in CEDA’s 2020 EPO publication along with analysis of the economic, political and international policy outlooks.
“The report’s economic chapter examines the ongoing challenges facing Australia and the rest of the world relating to US-China relations, the US election and the strength of the Chinese economy, all of which are fuelling uncertainty,” Ms Cilento said.
“Uncertainty is a theme that we have seen carried through the past few years and it has been a key driver in the global slowdown we saw in 2018 and 2019.
“While Australia is relatively protected from some of the global uncertainty such as Brexit and the US tariff increases due to limited production chain exposure, the Australian economy continues to suffer from the fall in consumer and business confidence that has arisen from this global uncertainty.”
This year’s Economic and Political Overview provides an insight into the domestic and international economic, political and policy environment, giving policymakers and organisations an insight into the operating environment in the year to come.  
The CEDA 2020 EPO contributing authors are:
  • Economic overview: Michael Blythe, Chief Economist and Managing Director, Commonwealth Bank of Australia
  • Political overview: Professor Peter van Onselen, Political Editor, Network 10 and Professor of Politics, University of Western Australia and Griffith University
  • Domestic policy overview – fiscal policy: Grant Wardell-Johnson, Lead Tax Partner, KPMG Economics & Tax Centre, KPMG Australia
  • Domestic policy overview – Aged care: Peter Harris AO, Research Advisor, CEDA
  • Domestic policy overview – Data ethics: Sarah Kaur, Chief Strategy Officer, Portable
  • International policy overview – Europe, the UK and Australia after Brexit: Professor Philomena Murray, Professor and Jean Monnet Chair ad personam School of Social and Political Sciences, University of Melbourne
  • International policy overview – The US, Australia and the presidential election: Professor Simon Jackman, Chief Executive Officer, United States Studies Centre
  • International policy overview – International climate change policy: Martijn Wilder AM, Founding Partner, Pollination
The EPO is being launched in Sydney today, Wednesday, 12 February 2020. Speakers in Sydney include: Former Prime Minister of Australia, the Hon. Kevin Rudd AC; NSW-Federal Financial Relations Review Chair, David Thodey AO; Centre for Policy Development Chair, Terry Moran AC; Commonwealth Bank of Australia Chief Economist and Managing Director, Michael Blythe; Nous Principal, Tanya Smith; The Australian Financial Review National Affairs Columnist, Jennifer Hewett; and International Institute for Management Development (IMD) Professor of Finance, Arturo Bris.
The event will be livestreamed via from 10am AEDT.
The launch event will be followed by a series of events being held in Brisbane, Canberra, Townsville, Hobart, Perth, Adelaide and Melbourne in February and March.
CEDA Chief Executive, Melinda Cilento, is available for further comment and interviews.
For more information, please contact:
Roxanne Punton, Director, External Affairs                                  
Mobile: 0409 532 287 | Email:
Eleanor Green, Media and Communications Advisor
Mobile: 0408 375 600 | Email:
About CEDA
CEDA – the Committee for Economic Development of Australia – is an independent, membership-based think tank. CEDA has 770 members and our cross-sector membership spans every state and territory and includes Australia's leading businesses, community organisations, government departments and academic institutions.
In 2020, CEDA celebrates its 60th anniversary – 60 years of working with its members to identify policy issues that matter for Australia’s future and pursuing solutions that deliver better economic and social outcomes for the greater good.

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.;