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Monday, 23 November 2015
Page: 8610

G20 Finance Ministers Meeting

Senator EDWARDS (South Australia) (14:32): My question is to the Minister for Finance, Senator Cormann. Can the minister update the Senate on the economic policy outcomes of the G20 summit in Turkey?

Senator CORMANN (Western AustraliaMinister for Finance and Deputy Leader of the Government in the Senate) (14:32): I thank Senator Edwards for that very important question. About a week ago I attended the G20 leaders meeting with the Prime Minister. Of course, the G20 leaders meeting in Antalya was very much overshadowed by the very tragic events in Paris that have already been addressed in this chamber earlier today. Despite those shocking events in Paris, much of the G20 leaders meeting was focused on the global economic outlook and on a global policy agenda to strengthen growth and create more jobs.

As I first said previously in this chamber, as a trading nation it is self-evident that what happens in the global economy—the global growth outlook—matters to us. As such, Australia, as president of the G20 in 2014, put a very ambitious growth target for consideration at the G20 leaders meeting in Brisbane last year on the agenda: a two per cent growth target above business as usual. I am pleased to report to the Senate that the G20 leaders remain committed to achieving that growth target, which was first announced and first put on the table by the G20 leaders in Brisbane here in Australia last year.

There is no doubt that we continue to face challenges when it comes to global economic growth. Global economic growth remains uneven and continues to fall short of our expectations. In particular, there was a conversation around the table in relation to the economic outlook in China, given the significance of China to the global economy. China is our most important trading partner, so China's continuing economic success— (Time expired)

Senator EDWARDS (South Australia) (14:35): Mr President, I ask a supplementary question. How does the government's agenda support the growth objectives endorsed by the G20?

Senator CORMANN (Western AustraliaMinister for Finance and Deputy Leader of the Government in the Senate) (14:35): G20 countries—representing about 86 per cent of the global economy—supported in Brisbane two per cent additional growth above business as usual. So far, as a result of initiatives and multiyear commitments adopted by countries around the world we have been able to get about one-third of the way, according to analysis by the IMF, the OECD and the World Bank. Further initiatives, in particular in the context of investment—in particular through private sector participation—will add an estimated one per cent to global growth by 2018, according to the OECD. Australia also tabled at the G20 meeting our updated growth strategy—our contribution to global growth. In it you will not be surprised to hear me say that we relate our ambitious infrastructure investment program to our ambitious free trade agenda, which involves increased trade with Korea, Japan and China— (Time expired)

Senator EDWARDS (South Australia) (14:36): Mr President, I ask a further supplementary question. Minister, how does stronger growth benefit Australian families?

Senator CORMANN (Western AustraliaMinister for Finance and Deputy Leader of the Government in the Senate) (14:36): Stronger growth leads to more jobs and to better jobs. Of course, this government's total focus when it comes to economic policy is on strengthening growth and strengthening job creation. Since we came into government we have pursued an agenda of a more growth-friendly tax system—getting rid of the carbon tax and the mining tax, pursuing tax cuts for small business and not proceeding with Labor's bank tax. Of course, there is a further conversation about how the tax system can be further improved to make it more growth friendly into the future.

Families around Australia will be better off because a more growth-friendly tax system and stronger growth will lead to more jobs and to better jobs. I know Senator Cameron is very disappointed when he hears about the record of achievement of this government when it comes to jobs. Just this year, more than 300,000 new jobs have been created. (Time expired)