The Organisation for Economic Co-Operation and Development (OECD), based in Paris, was established in 1961 to provide a forum in which governments could work together to share experiences and seek solutions on common problems. Australia has been an active member of the OECD 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

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. Australia maintains a permanent delegation to the OECD, which includes officials from the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, Treasury, Department of Agriculture and Water Resources, Department of Employment, Department of Education and Training, Australian Taxation Office, Department of Industry, Innovation and Science (based in Brussels) and Department of Health (based in Geneva).

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 important source of detailed analysis on a wide range of issues of interest to Australia, including trade, investment, agriculture, food security, energy, the environment,climate change, and development cooperation. The Organisation’s focus on innovation, productivity and competitiveness for inclusive growth, and efforts to improve the enabling environment for trade and investment, align well with Australia’s own priorities.

The OECD is a key contributor of information, policy advice and technical analysis to the G20. The OECD monitors the implementation of the G20 National Growth Strategies aimed at lifting the global GDP by 2 per cent by 2018, a key goal set by the Australian presidency of the G20 in 2014. The OECD provides analysis of the gap between structural reform commitments and implementation.

The OECD’s evidence-based analysis promotes the importance of trade and investment as drivers of growth. Since the Global Financial Crisis, trade and investment growth has been weak. This in part reflects structural factors, a lack of progress in liberalisation, or worse still back tracking on past liberalisation commitments. The OECD  monitors trade and investment policy developments and related measures and reports on its findings. The OECD has also led key work on the implications of regional and global value chains for international trade and country policies

The OECD supports the Addis Ababa Action Agenda by promoting more and better domestic resource mobilisation (including taxation), more and better private sector investment and better targeting of development assistance to countries most in need (including small island developing states).

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 efforts to reach out and engage with countries beyond its membership. We see this as critical to the OECD’s ongoing relevance and influence. Increasing engagement with emerging and developing countries under its key partner, regional and country programmes reflects the reality of the 21st Century, where global economic weight has shifted.

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

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


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General inquiries on Australia's interests in the OECD

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Last Updated: 30 September 2016


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