2023 2022 2021   2020   2019    2018
2017    2016    2015   2014


24 April 2024

Decarbonisation: threat or opportunity?

This forum will examine domestic and international aspects of Australia’s progress towards Net Zero. Discussion will cover issues facing the domestic transition, including transmission constraints, how to reliably meet national energy needs and the role of battery storage and large hydroelectricity projects.  We will also examine international climate change action, and report on opportunities for Australia to exploit its natural advantages in low-cost renewables by exporting zero-carbon goods.


9 November 2023

Trade Liberalisation within the APEC region

This forum will examine and debate prospects for trade liberalisation within the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) region.  Over the last decade, the world has witnessed erosion in confidence in the stability of the global trading system as governed by the World Trade Organisation (WTO).  The WTOs Doha Development Round has been abandoned, the Appellate Body of the WTOs Dispute Settlement Mechanism is unable to review appeals since the term of the last sitting Appellate Body member expired on 30 November 2020, and confidence in prospects for trade liberalisation have been shaken by the recent US/China trade war.  This forum will examine alternative prospects for trade liberalisation through plurilateral agreements and the implementation of trade facilitation within the APEC region.

29 May 2023

An RBA Fit for the Future?

The report ‘An RBA fit for the future’ analysed the Reserve Bank of Australia’s performance over the past 30 years and made 51 recommendations on the monetary policy framework, governance, leadership and culture of the RBA.

Some recommendations touch directly on the 3 pillars of macroeconomic policy – monetary, fiscal and macro-prudential policies.

This forum was devoted to a discussion of the recommendations and issues raised in the Report about the monetary policy framework. Will the recommendations ensure a monetary policy framework at the RBA that is fit for the future?

17 April 2023


This forum will examine and debate productivity performance and policy. Productivity growth is the dominant long-run determinant of improvements in economic wellbeing. However Australia, like other developed countries, has experienced slowing rates of productivity growth in recent years. While the immediate impact of the productivity slowdown on Australian living standards has been temporarily masked by elevated terms of trade, if it continues, it presages a future characterised by slow growth in living standards and ongoing budgetary structural pressures. This forum will examine the recent history of Australia’s productivity performance, and consider the opportunities for productivity enhancing reform and innovation available to government and business across a range of economic activities, sectors, and policy domains


6 December 2022

Treasury’s 2023 Employment White Paper

The Albanese Government’s Jobs and Skills Summit held in September 2022 produced a number of policy recommendations to improve employment outcomes and community well being, but it also acknowledged that further work was required to develop policy responses to the labour market issues confronting the nation.

This MEF discussed what should Treasury be thinking about in these policy domains, as well as what policies do they require in response and what policies should not be adopted?

16 August 2022

Tax Policy

Federal and state governments face significant revenue raising challenges, both to fund the fiscal support measures necessitated by the recent pandemic, and to address future structural deficit pressures. This forum will examine whether budget repair and tax reform can be undertaken jointly. It will address tax reform in a system-wide context, examining responses to tax changes and connections across different parts of the tax system. Property tax reform has the potential to generate large economic gains. The forum will discuss detailed options for delivering state property tax reform. The implications of such reform for property prices and efficiency will be quantified and discussed.

9 June 2022

Post-Election Discussion: What are the key economic policy issues facing the government?

With the upcoming federal election, there are many key policy issues at the forefront of Australians’ minds. Moderated by The Hon Dr Craig Emerson (Managing Director Emerson Economics), this Melbourne Economic Forum will focus on key election topics including climate, energy, housing and the labour markets and skills. This forum has been designed to foster robust discussion between members on the key issues they believe should be a priority for the elected government.

5 April 2022

The 2022 Federal Budget

This MEF will examine and debate the federal government budget. With an upcoming election, rising cost of living pressures, a global environment of heightened macro and security uncertainty, and following two years of fiscal support through the pandemic, this budget must navigate a challenging array of competing objectives and pressures. This MEF will examine the economic environment in which the budget will be delivered, the budget’s macroeconomic implications, potential monetary policy / budgetary policy interactions, debt sustainability, and the inferences to be drawn on the election policies of the major parties from the budget and budget reply.


8 Dec 2021

Labour Force Participation, Taxes, Transfers, and Basic Income

As we approach full employment, increasing labour force participation becomes an important focus, if achieving sustained economic growth – especially with our immigration program having been affected by COVID-19.

8 July 2021

The Labour Market after the Pandemic

This MEF will examine both the short-term and enduring impacts of COVID-19 on the Australian labour market.  It will consider lessons for policy makers, covering labour market, macroeconomic and immigration policy.

9 June 2021

Budget 2021: What does it mean for Australia?

This forum will focus on reactions to the 2021 Commonwealth Budget from both a macroeconomics and microeconomics perspective. This past year involved lots of spending and many twists and turns as we combated the pandemic and economic fallout resulting from measures such as lockdowns, social distancing, and closed borders. As we move forward in 2021 and beyond, does the budget reflect what Australia needs now and will it enable sufficient growth and policy innovation for a sustainable future?  

8 April 2021

Opportunities and Challenges in a Low-Carbon Global Economy

We are delighted to invite you to the first Melbourne Economic Forum of 2021. In this Forum, we will explore the economic implications of Australia’s major trading partners embracing policies to sharply reduce carbon emissions over coming decades. Questions to be addressed include: What do China’s aim to reach carbon neutrality and the EU’s plan for a carbon border adjustment mechanism (CBAM) mean for the Australian economy? Can the EU’s CBAM design be WTO compliant? Can Australia prosperously navigate the resulting structural challenges by pursuing new exports that are intensive in low-emissions energy?


9 December 2020

Implications of a Biden Presidency on the US, global and Australian economies

In this forum, post the US election, we will explore how international relations could be impacted as well as the effect of COVID-19 on the US economy with a Biden Presidency. How could a Biden Administration make a difference to the global economy, and what will the implications be for Australia?

22 October 2020

Pandemics and Recessions: What are Critical Issues Affecting Recovery?

The budget has been announced. Will states be able to recover from the COVID-19 recession quickly? Is poverty getting worse, how is our education system faring, and what can we do to address issues in our labour market? The speakers at this forum will reflect on these issues and we invite you to join in on the discussion of what is happening and where we are headed.

17 August 2020

Recovering from the Economic Consequences of COVID-19 – Macroeconomic Considerations

The Treasurer’s economic statement of 23 July 2020 highlighted the extreme uncertainty surrounding the macroeconomic outlook globally and nationally, with the course of the economy being profoundly influenced by the course the COVID-19 pandemic might take. Yet we know we are experiencing the deepest national and global recession since the Great Depression.


14 November 2019

The Value of Private Healthcare

The private health insurance sector is in a ‘death spiral’ as membership levels are falling. Are existing private health insurance reforms and price transparency enough? Should we have more subsidies for the private sector or more public provision?

25 September 2019

State and federal tax reform a decade after the Henry review

Australia’s most comprehensive review of state and federal tax policy, the Henry Tax Review (2009), made many recommendations to improve the resilience, equity and efficiency of the tax system. September’s MEF will revisit these issues.

3 July 2019

International Trade

This MEF will focus on international trade, especially on the dynamics of US-China relations and their glob and Australian implications.

8 May 2019

Reprising Dog Days

This forum will examine the medium-term economic challenges that will confront the winner of the next Federal election.

15 March 2019

Understanding Australia’s Poverty Issues: A Multi-Dimensional Matter

The Forum will touch on what we know about poverty from a macro and microeconomic perspective as well as take a look at some of the issues that are linked to addressing matters related to poverty.


10 December 2018

Cash Flow Tax Proposal: Special Forum

Is there an alternative to corporate income tax. The authors of a proposal to replace Australia’s corporate income tax with a cash flow tax, which they argue will be more effective in dealing with base erosion and profit shifting by multinationals.

4 September 2018


The Banking Royal Commission has been scrutinising the behaviour of banks and other financial institutions. It will make recommendations to the government on reforms to the financial sector. The Melbourne Economic Forum will discuss possible reforms.

7 June 2018

The 2018-2019 Federal Budget: A Retrospective

When the dust settles on the Federal Budget and all the interest groups have had their say, the Melbourne Economic Forum has made a practice of assessing the Budget and its underlying economic assumptions from a national-interest perspective.

10 April 2018

Life after Trump Tax

Does the Trump tax plan change the tax equation in Australia?


12 December 2017

Income and Wealth Disparities

This forum will highlight the income and wealth disparities in our country, with a focus on the issues tied to income inequality and the issues that arise from these disparities more generally.

18 September 2017

Do we have the energy to end climate wars?

What is the future of the energy market in Victoria? Two reviews of energy markets have been conducted independently which raise important questions on the issue.

30 May 2017

An Assessment on the 2017-18 Federal Budget

This forum will assess the macroeconomic forecasts and microeconomic aspects of the 2017-18 Federal Budget.

11 April 2017

Company Tax

This forum will debate what the most appropriate forms of company tax are, and the best policy approach to lifting private investment.


29 November 2016

The Economic Consequences of Donald Trump

This Melbourne Economic Forum explores the significance of the Trump Presidency for the global, Asia Pacific and Australian economies, looking at trade, capital markets, investment and economic activity.

27 October 2016

Work and Life in Cities: City Strategy in Australia

(with the West of Melbourne as a case study and a Sydney perspective)

26 July 2016

The Economic Challenge for the 45th Parliament

The Forum will address the economic policy challenges facing Australia in the aftermath of the federal election.

13 April 2016

Tax Reform

Since tax reform remains an ongoing policy issue, this Forum builds on the excellent discussion at the December Forum.


17 December 2015

Tax Reform in a Modern Federation

The forum will discuss the incidence, incentive and equity effects of various tax reform options, including federal and state taxes.

24 August 2015

Health Reform in the Context of Rising Chronic Disease and Rising Health Costs

This forum looks at the health system in a modern federation and the role of prevention in improving quality of life and in reducing the cost of health care.

17 June 2015

Lifting Productivity Growth

Discussing the prospects for future productivity growth in Australia in the context of slowing productivity growth rates in the developed world.

16 March 2015

Tertiary Education Policy

The discussion will focus on issues associated with the proposed deregulation of university fees and of higher education providers, in the broader context of readying young people at school for higher education.


20 November 2014

Energy Policy

A discussion of issues arising from the Government’s Energy Policy Green Paper, ahead of the White Paper which is expected to be released in December.

25 September 2014

Financial System Reform and the Monetary System

The financial and monetary reform issues in light of the interim report of the Murray inquiry will be discussed.

21 July 2014

Macroeconomic Prospects for Australia

The Australian macroeconomic outlook and policy choices following the end of the mining
boom will be discussed.