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Wayne Swan

Deputy Prime Minister and Treasurer

3 December 2007 - 27 June 2013

3 August 2008


Treasurer to Chair APEC Ministerial Meeting on Structural Reform

Today I will welcome Ministers and Heads of Delegation from APEC member economies and guests to the APEC Ministerial Meeting on Structural Reform.

This is the first APEC Ministerial meeting wholly dedicated to structural reform and Australia is proud to be hosting such an important international event.

Structural reform consists of improvements made to those government policies, regulations and institutional frameworks that can act as barriers to competition and efficient operation of markets. It also includes government interventions to address market failures.

The Ministerial Meeting will provide ministers from APEC economies who have tackled major structural reforms with the opportunity to share experiences and engage on these important issues.

Australia has much to contribute, having implemented a range of major structural reforms over the last quarter century that have underpinned our current 17-year expansion. These include the floating of the dollar, deregulation of the financial sector, compulsory superannuation and the move from centralised wage fixation to enterprise bargaining, starting in the early 1990s.

My APEC colleagues and I will discuss the political challenges of structural reform and the importance of building consensus.

We will also discuss how regulatory reform frameworks facilitate structural reform by producing appropriate and good quality regulation.

We will have a dialogue with high‑level business representatives from across the Asia‑Pacific region, recognising the important role that the business community plays in structural reform.

We live in the most dynamic region of the world, and APEC provides Australia with a timely opportunity to engage with the region and discuss important issues such as structural reform.

Removing behind‑the‑border barriers plays a significant role in achieving sustainable economic growth and improving living standards in the Asia‑Pacific region.

I am pleased to welcome all our guests, including Ministers and Heads of Delegation from APEC member economies, the Secretary‑General of the OECD, the President of the Asian Development Bank, the Regional Director of the International Finance Corporation of the World Bank, the Co‑Chair of the APEC Business Advisory Council and the APEC Economic Committee Chair.

The APEC Ministerial Meeting on Structural Reform (SRMM) will be held in Melbourne from 3‑5 August 2008.

3 August 2008