State of the Nation



State of the Nation 2017 was held on Wednesday 31 May and Thursday 1 June 2017.

For more than 35 years CEDA has hosted its annual State of the Nation conference in Canberra. Each year the conference brings 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. Participants discuss issues directly with speakers and other attendees, and engage in networking opportunities.

Australia has enjoyed 25 years of consecutive economic growth. But with increased global competition, geopolitical uncertainty, industry upheaval, rising inequality and stifled economic reform, will Australia be able to continue its golden run?

In CEDA’s 2017 State of the Nation conference, we discussed:

  • How our high-performing companies compete in the global marketplace;
  • How we can set up our growth sectors for success; and
  • How to improve economic security in times of change and uncertainty.

Session themes and speakers

Opening keynote address

The Hon. Malcolm Turnbull, Prime Minister of Australia

Keynote speakers

The Hon. Josh Frydenberg, Federal Minister for the Environment and Energy

The Hon. Scott Morrison, Federal Treasurer

Senator the Hon. Fiona Nash, Federal Minister for Regional Development

The Hon. Christian Porter, Federal Minister for Social Services

The Hon. Christopher Pyne, Federal Minister for Defence Industry

The Hon. Bill Shorten, Federal Leader of the Opposition

Senator the Hon. Arthur Sinodinos AO, Federal Minister for Industry, Innovation and Science

Panel discussions

Australia: leader or laggard in the race to secure our future industries?

  • Jeff Connolly, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, Siemens
  • Elizabeth Lewis-Gray, Chair and Managing Director, Gekko Systems, Chair, METS Ignited
  • Adrian Turner, CEO, Data61 and Co-Chair, Cyber Security Growth Centre
  • Dr Alex Zelinsky, Chief Defence Scientist and Head, Defence Science and Technology Group, Federal Department of Defence

Job security, disadvantage and Australia’s rustbelt: where to from here?

  • Dr Fiona Haslam McKenzie, Co-Director, Centre for Regional Development, University of Western Australia
  • The Hon. Dr Andrew Leigh, Federal Shadow Assistant Treasurer
  • Renée Leon PSM, Secretary, Federal Department of Employment
  • Chris Sutherland, Managing Director, Programmed

Trade in the Trump era: a new risk or a new opportunity?

  • Justin Brown, Deputy Secretary, Federal Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade
  • Dr Stephanie Fahey, Chief Executive Officer, Austrade
  • Grant King, President, Business Council of Australia
  • Dr Geoff Raby, Former Australian Ambassador to China

Innovation and collaboration: what matters and what can be done?

  • Andrew Charlton, Director, AlphaBeta
  • Professor Eeva Leinonen, Vice Chancellor, Murdoch University
  • Sue MacLeman, Managing Director and CEO, MTP Connect
  • Dr Larry Marshall, Chief Executive, CSIRO

State Treasurers' Panel

  • The Hon. Tom Koutsantonis, Treasurer of South Australia
  • The Hon. Tim Pallas, Treasurer of Victoria

The Senate Crossbench

  • Senator Sarah Hanson-Young, The Australian Greens
  • Senator David Leyonhjelm, Liberal Democratic Party
  • Senator Nick Xenophon, Nick Xenophon Team                                                                                      

Supported by CEDA members: 

Major sponsors  
Keynote session sponsor  


Past conferences:

2016 State of the Nation - Innovation, growth and the future economy

The 37th annual State of the Nation was held at Parliament House, Canberra, on the 10th and 11th of October 2016, with the theme, A new policy agenda: innovation, growth and the future economy.

2015 State of the Nation - New economy, old economy

The 36th annual State of the Nation conference was held at Parliament House Canberra on 22 and 23 June 2015 and discussed the changing economy as Australia transitions from old to new.

View the 2015 conference program

2014 State of the Nation: Australia – Open for Business?


The 35th annual State of the Nation conference was held at Parliament House Canberra on 23 and 24 June 2014, under the banner Australia – Open for Business?

2013 State of the Nation: Adjusting Australia


The 2013 conference was aligned with CEDA's major research project for 2013, Australia Adjusting: Optimising national prosperity, and focused on key public policy areas which impact Australia's economic growth.

2012 State of the Nation: Australia Abound


CEDA's 2012 State of the Nation provided insight from experts on critical issues for Australia including the transition of our energy sector, the role of the business community in economic reforms and Budget implications.