30 years of making an impact that matters

Access Economics was born out of a recognition that the public policy process could be aided by a strong, independent, evidence-backed voice.

This belief saw two senior ex-Treasury officials establish a private sector consulting outfit in Canberra. Eager to trump their competitors in the then advertising medium of choice – the Yellow Pages – the name Access Economics was spawned. As the two founding directors took on their first junior economist – the now well-known Chris Richardson – the intent of Access Economics became increasingly clear: to contribute to a better Australia.

The intervening years have seen those humble origins give rise to the largest, most well known and most widely respected economic consultancy in Australia. They have seen an investment advisory business grow and spin off; and they have seen Access Economics step into what is now the largest professional services firm in the world.

They have also seen big changes to the environment in which Deloitte Access Economics plies its trade. The Australian economy has changed markedly in its composition – sectors without an entry in the national accounts are today major sources of economic activity. The nation’s policy priorities have shifted and evolved – as the major microeconomic reforms of the 1980s and 1990s have given way to a period of finer tuning. And the influences on and dynamics of the policy development process changed too, for better and for worse.

Through all of this – through 30 years of structural change; of political machinations; of recessions we had and didn’t have to have – our advice and our commitment to positively influencing the policy debate has endured. As issues have come to the fore, so too has the analysis and advice of Access Economics and, in turn, Deloitte Access Economics. Yes, we have a commercial charter. But the defining feature of our charter has been the endeavour to leave the world a better place.

Our early years were forged by fearless advice on taxation and fiscal policy, as Access Economics quickly established itself as the nation’s leading private sector macroeconomic commentator, with our flagship publications, Budget Monitor and Business Outlook, widely trusted for their forecasts and analysis.

The debate on issues like climate change, aviation deregulation, immigration and infrastructure have all been shaped by the firm’s analysis and advice. Some of our proudest contributions are in social policy – health, aged care and education in particular. Deloitte Access Economics has brought to these fields – and to the policy debates that characterise them – new techniques of analysis; new methods of quantification; and new frames of reference for policy design and development. In doing so, we have helped build the case for reform on complex, sensitive issues that matter to people’s lives.

Three decades on, the principles upon which Access Economics were founded remain at the heart of the Deloitte Access Economics aspiration. Today, more than ever, we strive to apply economic analysis in ways that improve outcomes for Australians – and, increasingly, those beyond our shores. Some of the issues we are tackling are the very same wicked problems that captivated us in those early years. Reform is, after all, a patient craft. Others could hardly have been predicted back then – they are the issues of the modern economy; of the Asian century; of the digital era.

That’s the great thing about commanding the fortunate position we do: it grants us the opportunity to work on the most pressing issues of the day.

Who knows what the world will look like 30 years from now. But one thing is for sure: Deloitte Access Economics will be using all of our insight and influence to contribute to a better society.


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