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Thursday, 13 August 2009
Page: 7766


Mr SWAN (Treasurer) (9:05 AM) —I move:

That this bill be now read a second time.

This bill is an important step in delivering on Australia’s commitments at the G20 leaders’ meeting in London in April 2009.

While the global recession had its origins in the financial institutions of the United States and Europe, its impacts have been felt right around the world.

The multilateral development banks, such as the Asian Development Bank (ADB), are playing a critical role in supporting recovery in developing economies and therefore the global economy.

The ADB is also helping to ensure sustained growth and stability in the Asia-Pacific region which will benefit Australian exporters and jobs for many years to come.

To ensure the ADB has sufficient capital to support recovery and ongoing sustainable growth in our region, G20 leaders agreed to support a 200 per cent general capital increase.

The outcomes of the London Summit played an important role in restoring stability to financial markets and restoring economic confidence. 

And as we approach the next leaders’ summit in Pittsburgh, it is important for G20 members to demonstrate that we are delivering on all of these very important commitments.

Supporting this bill will enable Australia to demonstrate its leadership globally, as well as supporting recovery from the global recession in our region.

The purpose of this bill is to obtain parliamentary approval for Australia to take up its allocated subscription to the fifth general capital increase at the ADB at a cost of around $US197.6 million over 10 years.

Under the general capital increase, Australia is entitled to subscribe to an additional 409,480 shares.

Only four per cent of these shares are required to be paid-in.

As a result of the low paid-in component, the annual cost of the subscription will account for a very small part of Australia’s aid program over the 10-year payment period.

Australia’s contribution towards the general capital increase was included as a capital measure in the 2009-10 budget and will not impact the underlying cash or fiscal balances.

I believe the economic and political significance of the Asia-Pacific region to Australia, and the important developmental role which the Asian Development Bank is playing, both in its immediate response to the global recession and in pursuit towards its long-term Strategy 2020, necessitate Australia’s continued support of the bank.

I commend the bill to the House.

Debate (on motion by Mr Coulton) adjourned.