Connecting people with progress: securing future economic development


CEDA's research report explores how we can realise better social and economic outcomes for Australians in the decades to come.
Australia needs to fundamentally reframe its policy approach. Ad hoc and set and forget approaches to policy will not deliver what we need in the future. Connecting people with progress: securing future economic development, is a pivotal document aimed at recalibrating the priorities for economic development to secure future progress that is tangible and relatable to the Australian community in line with the findings from CEDA’s report on community attitudes to economic growth.

This report seeks to address:
  • How Australia has progressed and a snapshot of how Australians’ lives have been made better by economic growth;
  • Factors that have contributed to Australia’s sustained progress and where we have fallen short;
  • Priorities for making peoples’ lives better in the future.

Explore the report

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Financial securityDisposable incomes have grown more than 2.5 times since 1960. Relative poverty has hovered around 10 per cent over the last three decades. Over 700,000 people live in persistent poverty. Effective infrastructureThe volume of domestic freight has tripled in the last 30 years. Australia’s quality of infrastructure lags other advanced economies.The costs of traffic congestion are expected to rise to $30 billion by 2030. Global linksAustralia has strong economic, diplomatic and cultural links to the rest of the world. Competitive businessA vibrant and trusted business sector that is globally competitive and connected. Connecting people with progress Securing future economic development What do we need for economic development? Financial securityAustralians have sufficient wealth and income to meet their needs through their life. Health and wellbeingAustralians are in good health with a high level of wellbeing. EducationAn accessible, world-class education, enabling people to realise their potential. Effective infrastructureAustralia’s infrastructure is well planned, built, funded and utilised, providing convenience, amenity and opportunity for business and the Effective governmentGovernments are stable and effective and working well together, to balance budgets, deliver critical services,provide a social safety netand maintain law and order. Environmental stewardshipAustralia’s built and naturalenvironment is managed well and sustainably. Jobs and participationPeople participate in the workforce and society to the greatest extent Critical servicesDeliver critical services with better outcomes. PopulationManage immigration, population and settlement strategically across governments. Technology and dataPut people at the centre of policies to harness technology and data.Enable effective take up and use of technologies and data. Workplace, workforce and collaborationInvest in skills for a lifetime of work and productivity.Retain a strong and effective safety net.Support productivity through engagement and collaboration in the workplace. InstitutionsStrengthen institutions and their role in economic development.Foster collaboration across sectors and jurisdictions. EducationToday almost 85 per cent of secondary school students complete Year 12 compared to 23 per cent 50 years ago. Australian students’ PISA results for science, maths and reading have consistently Environmental stewardshipAir quality has improved while energy intensity has decreased. There is no consistent climate policy and Australia's biodiversity is under increased threat. Effective governmentWell established institutions provide economic opportunities, financial security and social assistance to Australians when they need it most. Six Prime Ministers in the last decade has undermined long-term decision-making. Commonwealth net debt is now over 18 per cent of GDP. Social cohesionOverall levels of inequality have not risen since the GFC.Indigenous Australians continue to be left behind while Australia’s incarceration rate is high and rising. Health and wellbeingAustralians’ average life expectancy at birth has increased by more than 10 years since 1960. The burden of preventable diseases is increasing. Jobs and participation62 per cent of Australians are in jobs. Long-term unemployment has doubled in the last decade. Global linksSince 1960, Australia’s exports have almost doubled as a proportion of our economy. Australia’s trade relationship with some major emerging markets are underdeveloped. There is a threat of rising protectionism. Competitive businessLevels of productivity have doubled since 1975.Less than half of Australian businesses are innovating. Social cohesionOur society is cohesive, enhances wellbeing and provides equality of opportunity supported by a strong social Connecting people with progress Securing future economic development What have we done well? What do we need to improve? How do we deliver on the economic priorities? Connecting people with progress Securing future economic development

Report contributions

This report includes contributions from:
  • Hugh Bradlow (President, Australian Academy of Technology & Engineering)
  • Peter Coleman (CEO and Managing Director, Woodside Energy)
  • Andrew Dettmer (President, Australian Manufacturing Workers’ Union)
  • Professor Atilla Brungs (Vice Chancellor & President, University of Technology Sydney)
  • Dr Liz Allen (Demographer, ANU Centre for Social Research and Methods)
  • Philip Davies (Chair, Australian Logistics Council)
  • Professor Anne Tiernan (Dean (Engagement), Griffith Business School) & Jerath Head (Research Assistant, Policy Innovation Hub)
  • Melina Morrison (CEO, Business Council of Cooperatives & Mutuals)
  • Professor Joe Graffam (Deputy Vice-Chancellor Research, Deakin University) & Jenny Crosbie, Research Fellow, Deakin University)
  • James van Smeerdijk (Partner, PricewaterhouseCoopers)
  • Evan Rawstron (Partner, Health Ageing and Human Services, KPMG)
  • Steven Casey (Partner, Policy, Programs and Evaluations, KPMG)

Report launch and release events

Connecting people with progress: securing future economic development was launched in Sydney on 12 November 2018, with CEDA events following in Adelaide on 13 November, Brisbane on 27 November, Melbourne on 10 December 2018 and at a Member event in Perth on 4 December 2018.

Watch: report launch presentation and discussion


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