Australia and the OECD

Australian Government Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade

November 2013

Better policies for better lives

The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) is one of the world's largest and most reliable sources of statistical, economic and social data. It is a key forum for governments and stakeholders to address policy challenges and identify best practices. Australia has been an active member since 1971.

The OECD provides independent analysis which is used by governments and businesses to help them make decisions. These decisions help improve the economic and social well-being of citizens in its member countries and globally.

Ministers of OECD member countries meet every year in Paris to review current work and set future priorities. The OECD also collaborates with and contributes to work in other international forums, such as the G8 and G20 meetings.

OECD membership status map

OECD membership status

Full members

Australia, Austria, Belgium, Canada, Chile, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Japan, Korea, Luxembourg, Mexico, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Slovak Republic, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Turkey, United Kingdom, United States

Accession

Russia (membership pending)

Enhanced engagement countries

Brazil, China, India, Indonesia, South Africa

OECD timeline

1961 The OECD is established in Paris.

1966 Australia joins the Development Assistance Committee.

1971 Australia joins the OECD as its 23rd member.

1980 Australia's Justice Michael Kirby plays a key role in the OECD's adoption of new privacy guidelines on the collection and management of personal information by governments and businesses.

1989 Australia becomes a founding member of the Financial Action Task Force—an organisation to combat money laundering and terrorist financing.

1992–1993 Australia holds the presidency of the Financial Action Task Force. The OECD Ministerial Council reaffirms 'the importance of co-operative global action to combat money laundering'.

1994 Prime Minister Keating addresses a large gathering of ministers and NGOs at the OECD–Australia conference on cities and the new global economy.

1995 Australia's national competition policy inspires the OECD's competition assessment toolkit, now used in 14 languages worldwide.

2002 Australia is heavily involved in establishing the Working Party on Small and Medium Enterprises and Entrepreneurship.

2008 Australia signs the Seoul Declaration for the Internet Economy, which recognises the increasingly critical role of the internet.

2011 The OECD celebrated its 50th anniversary.

Australia's role

Government officials from various agencies represent Australia at the OECD in Paris, where they contribute to the Organisation's work. Australia currently chairs the Health Committee, the Industry, Innovation and Entrepreneurship  Committee, the Regulatory Policy Committee and the Financial Markets Committee.  The Australian Ambassador to the OECD also currently chairs the Executive Committee, one of four standing OECD Committees.

Australia takes an interest in a wide range of OECD issues — economic analysis, trade and structural reform; taxation, employment and social policy; health, education, and the environment; digital and cyber issues; science and technology; and development assistance.

The OECD's research and recommendations are useful tools in Australia's domestic policy-making process, helping to inform major decisions. OECD work has guided current Australian Government policies and programs in areas such as employment, pensions and education.

Good policy recommendations, backed up by experience and research, are also invaluable to developing economies. Australia is a strong supporter of OECD's increasing involvement with the 'enhanced engagement countries' (see map) as well as the countries of South East Asia. The participation and views of these countries is important because of their increasing weight in the global economy.

OECD quick stats - as a 2012

Established in 1961 and comprises approximately 2,500 staff

Membership: 34 developed countries

Members make up 59.8 per cent of global trade flows

Members make up 53.2 per cent of global GDP in purchasing power parity terms

Populations of member countries make up 17.8 per cent of the world's people

OECD 50th anniversary logo