Committee for Economic Development of Australia
CEDA (the Committee for Economic Development of Australia) is a bipartisan, non-profit, national, independent, member-based organisation providing thought leadership and policy perspectives on the economic and social issues affecting Australia.
Its expressed aim is to "promote national economic development in a sustainable and socially balanced way." Sydney Morning Herald economics editor Ross Gittins has described CEDA as seeking to "inform the public debate without lobbying". It is financed by around 900 members drawn from business, universities, governments and community groups, and by a program of conferences and other events.
CEDA was formed in 1960 by Sir Douglas Copland, one of the most influential figures in Australian economics, and George Le Couteur OBE was President from 1968 until 1974. It was modelled on the US CED (Committee for Economic Development), but is now organised along lines more similar to the US Conference Board and the Conference Board of Canada. It is Australia's third-oldest think-tank, after the Institute of Public Affairs and the Australian Institute of International Affairs.
In 1979, after a debate on CEDA's involvement in lobbying, it established a 'Business Roundtable' as an independent entity which in 1983 was merged into the Business Council of Australia.
CEDA's research program today concentrates on long-term issues, including education, economic infrastructure (roads, ports, electricity systems et al.), population ageing, management of water, and business innovation. Rather than identifying strongly with a particular ideological viewpoint in the style of the Centre for Independent Studies, the Institute of Public Affairs or the Australia Institute, it mostly offers conclusions that are near the centre of the policy spectrum. It tends to favour market-oriented or at least price-oriented solutions to issues such as water supply and infrastructure. However, a substantial amount of its social policy work - for instance, on transitional labour markets - is sympathetic to government intervention in appropriate circumstances. It is respected for the quality of its research and its commitment to open debate as a means of identifying good policy outcomes.
'Crisis and Opportunity: Lessons of Australian Water Reform' - Australian Water Project, volume 1. This discussion paper, as part of the Australian Water Project, aims to drive debate around water reform to ensure Australia learns from the mistakes of the devastating drought from 1996 to 2009. Volume I draws together 14 contributions from experts to look at different aspects of Australian water reform including environmental, economic, agricultural and technological water management issues.
Australia's Nuclear Options (2011)is the first policy perspective in the three part series, Australia's Nuclear Options. It explores nuclear technology and its capacity to assist in meeting Australia's energy requirements in a carbon constrained environment.
A Taxing Debate: Climate policy beyond Copenhagen (2009) is an 11-chapter volume on the practicalities of a consumption-based carbon tax and its potential to deliver economic and international certainty. It includes papers by Yale University's William D Nordhaus and leading Australian economist Professor Warwick McKibbin.
Australia's Broadband Future - Four doors to greater competition (2009) offers a competition-based approach to delivering broadband services to customers in different situations across the country.
Competing From Australia, an eight-paper volume examining Australia's engagement with the world economy. Two papers in Competing From Australia, by Professor Geoffrey Blainey and Professor Glenn Withers, examine the continuing effects of distance on the Australian economy. These papers develop an investigation of the so-called "New Economic Geography" begun in Australia by researchers from the Federal Treasury in the early 2000s. They also revive in a new context the "tyranny of distance" concept made famous by Blainey in the 1960s. Other papers in Competing From Australia examine industrial innovation and the rise of global supply chains.
A controversial CEDA paper published in December 2006 argued that Australia does not need a single national high-speed broadband network. The paper, authored by the University of Melbourne's Professor Joshua Gans, claimed that Australia would do better to create a regulatory system that enabled appropriate local-scale solutions. This argument has been rejected by Telstra, Australia's largest broadband provider.
- 50 Years of CEDA (2010), published by CEDA - the most recent history.
- A Taxing Debate: Climate policy beyond Copenhagen (2009).
- The Bridge by CEDA Staff (1990), published by CEDA.
- Problems & Progress, edited by Harvey Mitchell (1985), published by CEDA - with contributions by Neville Norman, Phil Ruthven, Dame Leonie Kramer and others.
- Competing From Australia, published by CEDA (2007)
- The Local Broadband Imperative", by Joshua Gans, published by CEDA (2006)
- James G. McGann and R. Kent Weaver (ed), Think Tanks and Civil Societies, Transaction Publishers, 2002, at p395