Technology | Innovation

CEDA CEO update: 30 November 2020

CEDA’s Public Interest Technology forum kicks off with important conversations about trust, shares CEDA CEO Melinda Cilento.

The end of the year is fast approaching but things aren’t slowing down yet for the CEDA team. Today we kicked off another week of strong programming with CEDA’s two-day inaugural Public Interest Technology Forum. Day one offered a series of insightful and compelling sessions starting some important national conversations about putting humans at the centre of technology. We discussed the ethical and human rights considerations around emerging technologies, empowering consumers to manage the risks of data and technologies and the perspectives of scientists and technologists. Some strong themes emerged, including the importance of trustworthiness, the need to listen to consumers’ concerns with empathy and the importance of transparency and clear communication.

Tomorrow, in our second session, we’ll look at getting the risk-reward balance right, the role of regulation in building and maintaining trust and the role of business in tech governance and trust. Thanks to those members participating in our Public Interest Technology Advisory Committee – Newgate, Gilbert+Tobin, Queensland University of Technology, the University of Technology Sydney and Portable, and especially our foundation partners IBM, Google and KPMG, without whom the forum would not have been possible. 

Still on the question of trust, we note Trade Minister Simon Birmingham’s strong indications that the Morrison Government will take complaints against China to the World Trade Organisation (WTO) over its tariffs on Australian barley, announced back in May. Last week, China slapped significant tariffs on Australian wine, and at least 60 ships carrying Australian coal have also been denied permission to enter Chinese ports. This follows restrictions on other products such as lobster and timber. Mr Birmingham is right to state that these trade conflicts are not only harming Australia, but are also threatening global trade confidence as nations seek to recover from the COVID economic crisis.

CEDA published a paper by former WTO official Gary P. Sampson in May titled Trade in the post-pandemic world that argued the world economy will require more, not less, global trade cooperation after COVID-19. The WTO has a key responsibility to bring order to the world trading system. While the organisation needs reform, and an update to the trading rules to reflect the changes brought about by the pandemic, we must keep our focus on renewing and strengthening global trade cooperation.
Returning to our slate of events, we have had fantastic interest in Wednesday’s upcoming 2020 State of the State address by West Australian Premier the Hon. Mark McGowan in Perth. The face-to-face event is now sold out, and it’s great to see there is such an appetite for attending events in-person where it is safe to do so. If you missed out, you can still register to watch the livestream here. Western Australia was the only state to record economic growth last financial year. While the long-term implications of the COVID-19 pandemic continue to rattle the state’s economy, health and regions, the government is working on a $5.5 billion recovery plan focused on job creation, healthcare and revamping infrastructure.
Continuing the state focus, we are thrilled to welcome Queensland Treasurer and Minister for Investment, the Hon. Cameron Dick, to deliver the annual State Budget address on Tuesday 8 December, a week after handing down his first budget. This will be the Queensland Government’s first budget since winning re-election for a third term, and will outline the Palaszczuk government’s plans to revive the state economy as we emerge from the COVID-19 pandemic. Register to attend the event in-person in Brisbane here.

Join Deputy Prime Minister The Hon. Michael McCormack for a special livestream event, Optimising Australia's rail system for the future on Monday 14 December. Australia has the sixth largest rail network in the world. It plays a critical role connecting markets, cities and regions. Hear how innovations in our rail transport system 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 and Freight on Rail Group (FORG) Chair Dean Dalla Valle. Register here.

In the latest episode of our podcast series the Greater Good, CEDA Chief Economist Jarrod Ball chats with the chief executive of non-profit organisation The Big Issue Steven Persson about how his organisation has adapted to COVID, the impact of the pandemic on homelessness and social housing and the need to develop a suite of long-term solutions to poverty. Listen here.

On the blog this week, Swinburne University of Technology Centre for Social Impact Associate Professor Chris Mason discusses his recent research, which shows how coordination between governments and agencies drove rapid progress on long-standing problems in housing policy as the COVID-19 pandemic hit. Read more here.

It’s been a big week for our membership team, with all South Australian Government departments electing to join through one ‘all-of-government’ package. To the departments joining us for the first time, it is great to welcome you to the CEDA community. Thanks also to our renewing state and national members – we appreciate your ongoing support and engagement.
New state members
SA Department for Correctional Services (SA)
SA Department for Trade, Tourism & Investment (SA)
SA Department of Human Services (SA)
SA Department of Planning, Transport and Infrastructure (SA)
SA Department of the Attorney-General (SA)
SA Department of the Auditor-General (SA)

Renewing national members
Bendigo Bank
Rio Tinto

Renewing state members
City of Ballarat (VIC)
Melbourne Water Corporation (VIC)
Origin Energy (NSW/VIC)
SA Department for Child Protection (SA)
SA Department for Education (SA)
SA Department for Energy and Mining (SA)
SA Department for Environment and Water (SA)
SA Department for Health and Wellbeing (SA)
SA Department for Innovation and Skills (SA)
SA Department of Primary Industries and Regions (SA)
SA Department of the Premier and Cabinet (SA)
SA Department of Treasury and Finance (SA)
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.;