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Monday, 24 February 2014
Page: 549

G20 Meeting


Ms O'DWYER (Higgins) (14:12): My question is to the Treasurer. Will the Treasurer outline the outcomes of the G20 finance ministers' meeting held in Sydney this weekend? How will the outcomes of the meeting affect growth and jobs?


Mr HOCKEY (North SydneyThe Treasurer) (14:12): I thank the member for Higgins for the question and recognise that she came along to a number of meetings over the weekend. There was a meeting of the G20 finance ministers and central bank governors. It was the first significant ministerial meeting under Australia's presidency. At the end of the meeting Christine Lagarde, head of the IMF, described Australia's presidency as 'action oriented'. That is exactly what the Prime Minister promised at Davos earlier this year—that we would have a presidency of the G20 that would be focused on getting on with the job of building infrastructure, creating more jobs and repairing budgets. It is so vitally important not just for the world but also for Australia that we focus on structural reforms to create jobs. Only through structural reforms are we going to increase the speed of growth in the economy.

The heavy lifting on economic growth cannot be left to central banks, be it in Australia or anywhere else in the world. Easy monetary policy is only a temporary source of growth. The only way you can have economic growth is to earn it. You have to earn it, and it only comes through structural change in economies to cope with the changing nature of the global economy. That is why, out of the weekend and for the first time ever, G20 finance ministers laid down on the table a number—a real ambition—for the next five years to increase global growth by over $2 trillion. That is tens of millions of new jobs across the world. It is the first time it has happened. Why has it happened? It has happened because every country in the G20 recognises that only through structural reform are you going to grow the economy and create jobs. I was wondering what the reaction of the Labor Party would be. I love the member for Wills. He said this morning on the doors, 'Growth is not an end in itself. I heard over the weekend that Australian adults have grown by six kilograms in recent times and this is in fact a recipe for diabetes and heart disease so it is not a good thing.' I guess I have been in 'recession' for the last 12 months, haven't I? Oh dear, growth is not a good thing. This is the man who was the Labor Party Parliamentary Secretary for Trade and for Schools—keep him away from the kiddies if he is going to give them that for an economics lesson.