Message from the CEO

Over recent weeks, I like everyone else have contemplated and tried to make sense of many unprecedented developments and this past week has been no exception.

At the beginning of last week, the Prime Minister announced fiscal measures of the kind never before seen in Australia, $130 billion of support aimed at building a bridge to recovery and keeping people in jobs. It is quite simply a staggering package. These measures were met with universal support and will no doubt significantly soften the economic dislocation many of us are experiencing.

This is a view reflected in community attitudes, as seen in the weekly community attitudes survey conducted by CEDA member Newgate. Based on last week’s results, which followed the PM’s announcement, while most in the community continue to believe the economy will get worse in the next few months, around half now think the economy will be better in one year – a significant improvement on previous results. You can find the results of that Newgate survey here and you can listen to CEDA’s Chief Economist, Jarrod Ball, speaking with Newgate Australia Managing Director, Sue Vercoe, and Managing Partner, Brian Tyson, here.

There was also positive news in the form of evidence that the number of COVID-19 cases is slowing in Australia (touch wood). Nonetheless, we remain in unchartered waters. I was reminded of this when I had the privilege last Thursday to speak with immunologist and Nobel Laureate, Professor Peter Doherty AC, patron of the Doherty Institute and a member of CEDA’s Leadership Council. In that conversation, Peter explained that containing the virus does indeed require extreme measures and that a vaccine against it will take some time to develop. He also discussed the possibility of ‘immunity passports’, the first time I had heard that phrase. You can listen to our conversation here.

To my mind, all of this means that we will remain in these very extreme and unusual circumstances for some time yet. While some aspects of our current situation, such as working from home, may become ‘business as new usual’, we will all need to make further adjustments.

As we continue to adapt and respond to these health and economic challenges we must also have an eye to the future and recovery. In addition to the immediate and dramatic policy actions required to respond to COVID-19, we face ongoing, longer term policy changes to enable and secure economic recovery. At CEDA we have been recalibrating our own research focus for 2020 to reflect and respond to these unprecedented shifts and their long term implications.

The themes underpinning our planned research reports for 2020 – data, Community Pulse, immigration and disadvantage – remain important and work will continue on these themes. However, it is clear that we will need to consider carefully the impacts of this crisis on the nature of our economic and social development, and our research in the months ahead will incorporate a particular focus on the following:
  • Australian trade and supply chains
  • Australia's labour market in a time of pandemic and recovery
  • Digital delivery of human services - learning and building on developments during the crisis
  • Australia's federation in a time of pandemic
Please be in touch if you are interested in contributing to or sharing your insights on any of these issues. In particular, if you are a member experiencing economic impacts from supply chain disruptions, please contact our Chief Economist, Jarrod Ball.

Our research focus on these topics will complement CEDA’s blogs, podcasts and livestreams which will address short- and long-term issues of relevance to our members during this crisis.

Recent and upcoming content includes:

Watch: our program of events has now moved to a livestream format, free to CEDA members, with low-cost tickets available for non-members. The reach and level of engagement these livestreams have had to date has been fantastic.

Thanks to Edith Cowan University, our livestream sponsor for last week’s cybercrime event. You can catch-up on that discussion via CEDA’s digital hub here. Our second livestream last week, Ethical decision making during a crisis, included a keynote by Dr Simon Longstaff, and will be available on-demand for those that didn’t register on Wednesday via the above link. If you did register you should have already received a link to the on-demand video. Contact us here if you are having any difficulties accessing this content.

You can still register for our livestreams this week, which include:

Healthcare – technology driven transformation, tomorrow, Tuesday 7 April. In this livestream healthtech leaders dealing with front line issues will examine how Australia can harness the opportunities for data and digital transformation in healthcare.

Speakers include:
  • Australian Academy of Technology and Engineering, Health Technology Readiness Project Expert Working Group Co-Chair, Sue MacLeman;
  • CSL Chief Medical Officer, Dr Charmaine Gittleson;
  • Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society, Senior Vice President, Tim Kelsey; and
  • Microsoft Health Industry Executive and Chief Medical Officer, Dr Nic Woods.
You can register here.

2020 resources update, Wednesday 8 April. The resources sector is a vital part of Australia’s economy but is facing many challenges as a result of COVID-19. In this interactive livestream you will hear from resource sector leaders on how they are navigating current disruptions to supply chains, markets and their workforce.

Speakers include:
  • Lynas Corporation, Chief Executive Officer and Managing Director, Amanda Lacaze;
  • Neometals, Chief Executive Officer and Managing Director, Christopher Reed;
  • The Chamber of Minerals and Energy of Western Australia, Director – Policy and Advocacy, Robert Carruthers; and
  • Allens Partner, Nicholas Creed.
You can register for the resources update here.

Read: last week on the CEDA blog we tackled early childhood education policy and data.

In COVID-19 shows supporting early learning supports the economy, The Front Project CEO, Jane Hunt, and Research Manager, Dr Stacey Fox, explain how the COVID-19 crisis has highlighted the importance of early childhood education to the economy and exposed systemic problems with Australia’s policy approach.

In COVID-19: Real-time economic data is in high demand but short supply, CEDA Chief Economist, Jarrod Ball argues that with more access to relevant data and smarter use of the data already available, we could better anticipate events and quickly assess the effectiveness of our policy responses.

Listen: in addition to the pieces with Newgate and Professor Peter Doherty mentioned above, the latest podcast out today is my catch-up with NBN Co CEO, Stephen Rue on how the NBN is holding up to the challenges of ‘everyone at home’ demand for broadband, how the NBN calibrated and engineered the network, and their focus now.

Last week we also released a podcast on The challenges of human services in a crisis with EY Human Services Leader, Ruth Owen. Ruth ran Jobcentre Plus, the UK equivalent to Centrelink, in the aftermath of the GFC and knows a thing or two about peak demand for social services.

Finally, I’d like to call out new CEDA member North Queensland Bulk Ports Corporation, who joined in the last week, and all the CEDA members who have renewed in the last month.

National Members
  • Reserve Bank of Australia
  • Australian Catholic University
  • Advisian
  • Philips Electronics
  • Australian Unity
  • Commonwealth Treasury
  • RSM
  • Coal Services
  • NSW State Insurance Regulatory Authority
  • Cannings Communications
  • Randstad
  • Standards Australia
  • Sydney Airport
  • Jemena
  • Port of Newcastle
  • Strategic Project Partners
  • La Trobe University
  • BASF Australia
  • Deakin University
  • Maroondah City Council
  • State Revenue Office
  • Toyota
  • Royal Insitution of Australia
  • Funds SA
  • Flinders University
  • TransAlta Energy
  • Royal Flying Doctor Service of Australia
  • RAC (WA)
  • Queensland Airports Limited
  • The University of Queensland
  • Queensland Department of Environment and Science
  • SunWater
  • DMA Engineers
  • Construction Skills Queensland
  • Logan City Council
  • Australian National University

Thank you to all our members for your commitment to CEDA’s purpose of pursuing solutions that deliver better economic and social outcomes, which right now is more important than ever.

As always if you have any ideas or feedback for CEDA please contact us and continue to stay safe during this period.

Regards for now,

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.;