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Australia-New Zealand inaugural joint Cabinet meeting.

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22 August 2009

Australia-New Zealand Inaugural Joint Cabinet Meeting

The first ever Australia-New Zealand joint Cabinet meeting was held in Sydney yesterday. This

historic meeting involved fourteen Cabinet ministers and was co-chaired by Prime Minister

Kevin Rudd and Prime Minister John Key.

The joint Cabinet meeting comes at the end of Mr Key’s first official visit to Australia. The joint

Cabinet meeting is the first time that such a large contingent of Ministers from both sides of the

Tasman have met as a group to discuss the challenges and opportunities for both governments.

The two Prime Ministers briefed the joint Cabinet meeting of the outcomes of their discussions

the previous day, including accelerating progress on the Single Economic Market, and instructed

their Ministers to consider how the partnership could work more effectively going forward.

Ministers discussed domestic, strategic, and international matters of concern to both

governments, with a strong focus on the implications of the global economic crisis. Ministers

agreed on the vital importance of a successful and ambitious conclusion to the Doha Round and

implementation of G20 commitments to revitalise global confidence and growth. Ministers

agreed to continue close collaboration to develop more open trade and investment

arrangements in the Asia Pacific region, building both trans-Tasman economies.

Ministers exchanged views on the challenges of integrating infrastructure, transport, and town

planning in growing cities on both sides of the Tasman, as well as broadband delivery. They

discussed the importance of harnessing information technology to drive productivity and raise

living standards in their respective countries.

Ministers reaffirmed their commitment to cooperation on emission trading schemes and noted

the opportunities and challenges presented by climate change, including in creating new jobs

and investment. The importance of an ambitious outcome from Copenhagen was affirmed by

both sides. Ministers discussed the high priority of energy sectors, and new research through bodies such as the Global Carbon Capture and Storage Institute, in shaping national policy

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settings over the next ten years.

Ministers focused on the economic and social development challenges in the Pacific, pledging

continued close cooperation - as underscored by the Development Cooperation Partnership

endorsed by Prime Ministers on 20 August - to achieve the Millennium Development Goals in

the region and build closer economic integration under PACER Plus.

Ministers discussed the importance of maintaining close foreign policy settings in the region,

and discussed the long term significance of building an Asia Pacific community. They

committed themselves to ongoing close collaboration on counter-terrorism in South East Asia and closer defence cooperation.

The meeting proved valuable in discussing the joint challenges faced by Australia and New

Zealand, and Ministers from both sides endorsed a proposal to convene a further joint Cabinet

meeting in 2010.

The Ministers who attended the joint cabinet meeting with the Prime Ministers were for New

Zealand: Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister Bill English; Economic Development

Minister Gerry Brownlee; Commerce Minister Simon Power; Foreign Affairs Minister Murray

McCully; Trade Minister Tim Groser; Defence Minister Wayne Mapp; and Communications and

Information Technology Minister Steven Joyce; and for Australia: Treasurer Wayne Swan;

Defence Minister John Faulkner; Trade Minister Simon Crean; Infrastructure, Transport,

Regional Development and Local Government Minister Anthony Albanese; Broadband,

Communications and the Digital Economy Minister Stephen Conroy; Climate Change and Water

Minister Penny Wong; and Tourism, Resources and Energy Minister Martin Ferguson.

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