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

18 February 2011

Interview with Richard Quest

CNN

18 February 2011

SUBJECTS: G20 Finance Ministers Meeting; Australian natural disasters

QUEST:

Minister, the G20 will be meeting, finance ministers, in what is an otherwise very large agenda, but there are some specifics that you want to focus on this weekend, aren't there, that are actually more important?

TREASURER:

Yes, we are going to focus on the framework for sustained, balanced and strong growth, so there is some discussion about what indicators we will use, the sign-posts we will use, to indicate where the challenges are in the global economy as a way of coming to a conclusion about policies that can be put in place to deal with those economic imbalances.

QUEST:

Which indicators do you favour? Because there are a wide range of them. If you had to choose one?

TREASURER:

Well, I'm not choosing one, there are a range of indicators that will be discussed in these discussions over the weekend, I'm not going to pre-empt the outcome of that discussion. It is an important discussion, important for the G20 to get the framework right, so I'll be here listening to what all of my colleagues have to say.

QUEST:

Do you think that there is still tensions within the [G]20 over this idea of having indicators and allowing one country to look at the other, whether it is the IMF?

TREASURER:

Oh, I think there will be healthy discussion about all of that, but we can't forget what the end point is here, and the end point is what do we do, what structural reforms are put in place across all of the economies – developed and developing – which lead to a reduction in those economic imbalances over time. There is no magic solution here, but a range of reforms over time that can deal with these challenges.

QUEST:

As we look at the G20 process, it seems to be becoming more tortuous as two-speed growth in different economies moves on?

TREASURER:

Well, it is correct to say that we have a two-speed economy, or a patchy global economy, very strong growth particularly in the Asia-Pacific and among emerging economies, very sluggish growth particularly in Europe, we do see a recovery in the US. That does make this a very complex discussion because of the different pace that you see in the economies around the world.

QUEST:

Does that, though, still make the G20 the viable forum for this?

TREASURER:

Oh look, I think it reinforces the need for the G20 to be very active to ensure that the recovery progresses, because what is at stake here, we need to to lift global growth – that's particularly the case given high levels of unemployment in some developed economies – and also we've got to make sure that the growth that we are seeing in the emerging economies is sustainable over time. Getting the balance right is what we have got to do.

QUEST:

May I just ask you briefly and finally, the Australian economy of course, the bad weather the things that have taken place in Australia are clearly going to have an effect?

TREASURER:

They will have an impact, but natural disasters aside, the Australian economy is in great shape. Very healthy growth, very strong investment pipeline, very low unemployment – 5 per cent, half that level of unemployment in the Euro-zone – a very, very strong economy. It will put a slight hit to growth in the March quarter, but the outlook still remains really strong. We are open for business.

QUEST:

Thank you very much.

TREASURER:

Thank you.