The OECD, based in Paris, was established in 1961. Australia has been an active member since 1971. The Organisation provides independent and evidence-based analysis to help improve the economic and social well-being of citizens in its member countries and globally. The OECD does not have executive or financial powers; it relies on persuasion and consensus, and derives its relevance to member countries from its high quality analysis.

OECD member countries

World map with OECD member countries highlighted

OECD’s 50th Anniversary: “Better Policies for Better Lives”

In 2011 the OECD celebrated its 50th anniversary and Australia also celebrated its 40th anniversary of membership of the  Organisation. The anniversaries provided  an occasion to reflect on past achievements and consider the challenges ahead. The OECD’s theme is “Better Policies for Better Lives”. To mark this anniversary year, we developed the following presentation.

OECD 50th anniversary logo

OECD 50th Anniversary presentation

A look at 50 years of the OECD and 40 years of Australian membership.OECD 50th Anniversary presentation

Charter of the OEEC

The OEEC Charter, signed in 1948, established the OECD.

Photo credit: OECD.

Australian participation in the OECD

Australia joined the OECD in 1971, although initial links were established through membership of the OECD’s Development Assistance Committee (DAC) in 1966. Australia decided to become a full member because we recognised the importance of exchanging views and exerting influence in an organisation which had established itself as the paramount western, economic consultative forum.

Today, Australia continues to place high value on the OECD’s evidence-based cross-country economic and social policy analysis and advice. The Organisation is an importance source of detailed analysis on a wide range of issues of interest to Australia, including trade, agriculture, the environment and climate change, and global food security. We are involved actively in the OECD’s extensive work programs on core economic policy issues, statistics, labour market issues, digital and cyberspace, governance, education, health, migration and energy.

Australia is closely involved in the OECD’s work promoting structural reform to support long-term growth and wealth creation. An important lesson learnt from the Global Financial Crisis was the need for unilateral economic reform to encourage the development of more flexible and adaptable economies. To achieve this, policies must be complementary and supported by regional and global co-ordinated initiatives to maximise competition. Another lesson is the importance of trade liberalisation as a non-budget stimulus and long term generator of jobs. We are working with the OECD to emphasise the role of science, innovation and technology in contributing to a productive, competitive, low carbon economy, and the importance of market mechanisms in achieving least-cost transition.

Australia supports the Organisation’s increasing engagement with emerging and developing countries under its enhanced engagement program as we believe it reflects the reality of the 21st Century, where global economic influence is no longer dominated by western nations.

Information on the OECD’s functions and objectives can be obtained through the OECD website.


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Hard copies of OECD Publications

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General inquiries on Australia's interests in the OECD

  • Mail:
    Investment, Trade Finance and OECD Section
    Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade
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    John McEwen Crescent
    Barton, ACT, 0221
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  • Phone: (02) 6261 2433
  • Fax: (02) 6261 1385
Last Updated: 7 November 2013


Australia and the OECD publication