State of the Nation 2018

State of the Nation 2018

Jun 25
State of the Nation is Australia's premier public policy discussion forum, bringing together decision makers and leaders from government, business, industry and community organisations for an intensive, day-and-a-half of presentations and discussions on Australia's future prosperity.
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The Hon. Scott Morrison MP, Federal Treasurer
Philip Davies, Chief Executive Officer, Infrastructure Australia
The Hon. Paul Fletcher, Federal Minister for Urban Infrastructure and Cities
Dr Nicholas Gruen, Founder and Chief Executive Officer, Lateral Economics

Event Overview

How can we “shift the dial” on Australia’s economic and social reform agenda? How do we build resilience and lay the foundations for future prosperity?

Drawing on CEDA’s network and latest research, the annual State of the Nation brings together business, government and community leaders for important conversations on the issues that matter. 

We will discuss:
  • The current and future policy agenda in Canberra and across the nation;
  • How to build consensus on a new economic reform agenda;
  • Case studies of what works to improve economic and social outcomes; and 
  • Opportunities for new thinking and approaches in the digital age.
For more than 35 years CEDA has hosted its annual State of the Nation conference in Canberra, bringing together the best public policy minds from politics, business, academia and community organisations for open discussions on the key issues facing Australia's economic and social development. Described in the media as "Australia's premier policymaker conference", State of the Nation attracts ministers and shadow ministers, public servants, commentators and industry analysts for an insider's view of the Federal Government's policies.


Opening keynote address

The Hon. Scott Morrison MP
Federal Treasurer

Meet the keynote speakers

Philip Davies
Chief Executive Officer, Infrastructure Australia

The Hon. Paul Fletcher
Federal Minister for Urban Infrastructure and Cities

Dr Nicholas Gruen
Founder and Chief Executive Officer, Lateral Economics

Alastair MacGibbon
Deputy Secretary National Cyber Coordinator, Federal Department of Homeland Security, Special Adviser to the Prime Minister on Cyber Security

The Hon. Michael McCormack
Deputy Prime Minister, Federal Minister for Infrastructure and Transport

The Hon. Bill Shorten
Federal Leader of the Opposition

The Hon. Dan Tehan MP
Federal Minister for Social Services

Additional participants to be confirmed.


Session themes and confirmed speakers

Community attitudes to growth 

This session will discuss how to re-engage all Australians in the critical issues and policy challenges that will shape our future prosperity, informed by the findings of CEDA’s nation-wide polling of community attitudes, Community pulse 2018: the economic disconnect, being released to coincide with State of the Nation.

  • Melinda Cilento, Chief Executive, CEDA
  • Tim Gartrell, Partner, Collins | Gartrell
  • Jane Halton AO PSM, Chair, Council of the Ageing; and Non-Executive Director, ANZ Banking Group
  • Jan Owen AM, Chief Executive Officer, Foundation for Young Australians
Creating a resilient workforce for the future

How do we ensure that we have the right skills, training and regulatory frameworks to adopt new technologies to make jobs more productive, safer and more meaningful, while realising opportunities in emerging industries?

  • Jeff Connolly, Chief Executive Officer, Siemens
  • Dr Lisa O’Brien, Chief Executive Officer, The Smith Family
  • Lisa Paul AO PSM, Non-Executive Director, Navitas
  • David Thodey AO, Chair, CSIRO and Jobs for NSW
Resilient regions: the regional communities that are working and why 

This session will discuss the key ingredients of successful regional economic development with those who have been most effective at delivering it on the ground.

  • Jack Archer, Chief Executive, Regional Australia Institute
  • Cr Catherine Marriott, Shire of Broome and WA Project Manager, CRC for Developing Northern Australia
  • Professor Caroline McMillen, Vice Chancellor and President, University of Newcastle
  • John Wagner, Chairman, Wagner Corporation  
Collaboration and innovation for social change 

How can technology, innovative social ventures and cross-sectoral collaboration solve entrenched social issues that have challenged traditional government policy and program approaches?

  • Rosemary Addis, Chair, Australian Advisory Board, Impact Investing Australia and OECD Expert Group on Impact Investing
  • Cath Brokenborough, Executive Lead Indigenous Engagement and RAP, Lendlease
  • Professor Kristy Muir, Chief Executive Officer, Centre for Social Impact
  • Michael Traill AM, Chair, Goodstart Early Learning; Director, Sunsuper, Paul Ramsay Foundation, Australian Schools Plus, National Museum of Australia, Australian Philanthropic Services, and MH Carnegie & Co
Keynote dinner - State Treasurers’ Panel

Delivering policy outcomes for the community across a range of areas requires more effective Commonwealth-State collaboration and healthy budgets. This session will involve a discussion between Australia’s Treasurers on how governments face up to these challenges across the federation.

  • Tim Pallas,Treasurer of Victoria
  • The Hon. Dominic Perrottet, Treasurer of NSW 
Empowering consumers in the new economy 

From the different perspectives of regulators, consumer advocates, business and technology firms, what are the critical tools to empower consumers in the digital age? What are the respective roles of technology and regulation?

  • Andrew Stevens, Chair, Data Standards Body, Consumer Right Data
  • Gerard Brody, Chief Executive Officer, Consumer Action Law Centre
  • Amanda Hagan, Chief Customer Officer and Group Executive Digital, Australian Unity
  • Delia Rickard, Deputy Chair, ACCC 

Supported by CEDA members

Major sponsors

Further sponsorship available:

Align your brand with CEDA and communicate with hard-to-reach business, government and policy leaders by sponsoring this event. Contact CEDA Programming Team on 03 9662 3544 or email

Accommodation options:

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Public event advice – Coronavirus

At CEDA we are proud to regularly convene and engage speakers and audiences as an essential element of our efforts to broaden discussion and debate of the most important policy issues facing Australia. In doing so, our first priority is always the safety and wellbeing of our guests and staff.

CEDA is currently delivering a digital program of public events, podcasts and virtual Trustee roundtable discussions; hybrid events with both a livestream and audience in attendance; and face-face events, where there is member demand and they can be delivered in accordance with government health advice for a specific state.

For face-to-face gatherings, CEDA is working closely with our hosts and venues to ensure that social distancing can be maintained and facilities and equipment have been properly sanitised. Attendance numbers will strictly adhere to government guidelines for each state.In line with government advice we request people that are unwell with cough or fever or other respiratory symptoms do not attend CEDA events. We also ask that you follow government advice and maintain social distancing by refraining from shaking hands or exchanging physical greetings, and wherever possible, staying at least 1.5 metres away from others.

CEDA will continue to closely monitor government advice regarding public gatherings and will follow all relevant health advice from the Australian government in relation to COVID-19.

We acknowledge the Traditional Owners of country throughout Australia and recognise their continuing connection to land, waters and culture. We pay our respects to their Elders past, present and emerging.

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