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Thursday, 21 October 2010
Page: 1144

Mr PERRETT (2:29 PM) —My question is to the Treasurer. Will the Treasurer inform the House of the importance of international engagement and the upcoming meeting of the G20 finance ministers?

Mr SWAN (Treasurer) —I thank the member for Moreton for his question. Tonight I am leaving for the G20 finance ministers meeting in Korea which will undertake very important work as a prelude to the G20 leaders summit in Seoul in a few weeks time. This is important because it was through the work of the G20 over the last couple of years that the global economy avoided a global depression. So the G20 did do very important things in putting in place stimulus across the global economy to support jobs, something that is not appreciated by those opposite. But what we and all those finance ministers and leaders who go to the G20 know is that there are difficult times ahead. There are hard and difficult reforms that must be put in place across the global economy to ensure that growth is stronger and more sustainable, so the meeting this weekend will talk about the G20 framework for strong, balanced and sustainable growth.

There will be a discussion in that context about, for example, exchange rates—which we have been talking about here—and other things as well. The reform of the International Monetary Fund is very important to make the International Monetary Fund more representative of the global economy, particularly the growing economies in Asia. That will be very important, as will the discussion about a new international framework for financial regulation, which is very important for this country and very important for the global economy.

Global engagement in this context is important. It was very important in ensuring that Australia made it through the last couple of years without going into recession, and it will be very important as we go forward because, as the International Monetary Fund has already pointed out, the global outlook is uncertain and the risk is still very much on the downside. We on this side of the House understand the importance of maintaining a credible and consistent macroeconomic policy, even if those opposite do not. Even if those opposite want to rip up the economic consensus that has been so important to this economy, we will move forward with a credible policy for the future.