The Crest of the Commonwealth of Australia Treasury Portfolio Ministers
Picture of Wayne Swan

Wayne Swan

Deputy Prime Minister and Treasurer

3 December 2007 - 27 June 2013

2 June 2008

NO.060

Treasurer to Attend OECD and G8 Outreach Meetings

The Treasurer, the Hon Wayne Swan, MP will discuss major global economic challenges with foreign government ministerial counterparts and participate in the OECD Ministerial Council Meeting (MCM) and the G8 Finance Ministers' Outreach Meeting.

These key meetings come at a time when the Australian economy is being buffeted by strong countervailing forces in the global economy.

Notably, the US economy has slowed sharply and turbulence on global financial markets, higher borrowing costs and record oil prices have had significant effects in the Australian economy. At the same time, demand for Australian commodities from China in particular has pushed the terms of trade to generational highs at a time of elevated inflation both at home and abroad.

In these circumstances, it is vital that we engage closely with the key global economic institutions and forums, strengthen our key economic relationships and promote Australia's enduring economic stability and competitiveness.

I will also be discussing the Rudd Government's central economic objective of using our fiscal strength to invest in our infrastructure, in education, skills and training - areas which are essential to support our continued expansion, but which have been neglected in recent years.

In my meetings I will bring a particular focus to the global challenges of food and commodity price rises, financial market turbulence, climate change, broadening the OECD and G8 engagement, and strengthening bilateral economic relationships.

I will jointly lead a discussion on the economics of climate change at the OECD MCM, promoting Australia's commitment to reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 60 per cent by 2050 (from 2000 levels) and our introduction of a 'cap and trade' emissions trading scheme by 2010.

Like the Rudd Government, the OECD recognises that climate change is more than an environmental challenge - it is an enormous economic challenge as well.

In the UK, I will meet with the Chancellor of the Exchequer, the Hon Alistair Darling, MP. I will also make a speech in London to key British business leaders hosted by the Australian Business Forum. I will discuss the importance of making the global financial architecture work effectively to deliver appropriate regulatory responses. My speech will also promote the resilience of Australia's financial sector in response to global financial turbulence and the underlying strengths of our regulatory system.

China's growing importance to Australia cannot be overstated. China is now our largest trading partner and second largest export destination after Japan. Economic policy decisions made in Beijing over the coming decades will increasingly shape our external environment. My visit will build critical institutional relationships and set the stage for greater cooperation between our two economies in the future.

This is only the second time an Australian Treasurer has been invited to participate in the G8 Finance Ministers' Outreach Meeting. I will participate in a working dinner to discuss the macroeconomic outlook, including food and commodity prices, and a working breakfast to discuss climate change.

During this trip, I will also meet with my counterparts from Mexico, Norway, the UK, People's Republic of China, Japan, the Russian Federation, Italy, the USA, the Republic of Korea, Thailand, Brazil, Indonesia and Canada.

The 2008 OECD Ministerial Council Meeting will be held on 4-5 June in Paris, France. It will be chaired by Ms Christine Lagarde, French Minister for the Economy, Industry and Employment. The focus of the meeting will be Outreach, Reform and the Economics of Climate Change.

The 2008 G8 Finance Ministers' Meeting will be held on 13-14 June in Osaka, Japan. The meeting will be attended by finance ministers from Japan, the USA, the UK, France, Germany, Italy, Canada and Russia as well as the President of the Council of the European Union. Besides finance ministers from the G8 member states, it will be attended by representatives of the outreach countries invited because of their involvement in the subjects under discussion.

2 June 2008