International affairs

CEDA report: Globalisation backlash, cyber security threats to Australia’s prosperity

A backlash against globalisation, the rise of protectionist sentiment and concerns around cyber security and the future of global governance are key global challenges facing Australia’s policy makers and the economy, a new CEDA report has found.

CEDA’s report draws together leading thinkers on the global economy, global security and global governance to consider the impact of current international shifts and how well prepared Australia is to respond. 

Releasing, Australia’s place in the world, CEDA CEO Melinda Cilento said while these issues if poorly managed could have significant ramifications for Australia’s economy, they also represented significant opportunity.

“The current environment provides an opportunity to re-examine how we remain competitive but also how the opportunities and benefits of globalisation are realised and distributed in Australia,” she said.

“People are disillusioned with globalisation, but that does not mean a return to protectionist policies is in Australia’s best interests or inevitable. 

“The question for government right now is how the benefits of globalisation are communicated – what they actually mean and deliver for everyday Australians in terms of jobs and the goods and services they consume – but also how potential adverse impacts on individuals and communities are managed.

“Australia is part of the global economy and the global governance structures that support it, and we know that the recent period of record economic growth in Australia owes much to liberalisation and globalisation.

“It has underpinned rising GDP and income per capita and greater variety and lower prices for many goods and services – to pull back now would do significant harm to our economic prospects. 

“But we need to re-examine how well we are positioned to continue to reap the benefits and manage the challenges of global interconnectedness.  

“As always, domestic policy settings and longer-term planning to build economic, security and community resilience are critical to a prosperous future and ensuring that prosperity is broadly enjoyed.”

Ms Cilento said while domestically we need to focus on building the right infrastructure and capabilities to adapt to change, globally the report calls for reform to the global governance regime. 

“As a mid-level economy Australia is reliant on stable global governance. In addition, many of the issues the world currently faces require a global response, from the refugee crisis to health pandemics and illegal drug and arms cartels,” she said.

“Cyber security and cyber war is one of the biggest emerging global issues and a significant risk for Australia.
“It has the potential to be a greater risk than traditional security threats from terrorism and military conflicts. 

“However, while it is a threat, it is also a huge opportunity for Australia.”

Ms Cilento said Australia has the foundations to be a leader in cyber security and cyber military and it could be a significant industry for the country.

“As CEDA’s report notes, we are among the top nations in the world for some aspects of research in security in cyber space but to capitalise on this for our economy, much more needs to be done,” she said.

“There has been a proactive government response but it is only the beginning of what is a significant reform task to create the cyber capability to ‘raise, train and sustain our new cyber forces’ and build cyber security infrastructure.”

Australia’s place in the world is being released in Canberra today at an event with a keynote address by Minister for Defence Industry, the Hon. Christopher Pyne. 

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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.;