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

10 November 2011

Interview with Kieran Gilbert

SKY - AM Agenda

10 November 2011

SUBJECTS: APEC, Global Economy, European and Italian Economies, Carbon Price, Qantas

GILBERT:

I spoke to Treasurer Swan a little earlier this morning. He's at the APEC Summit in Hawaii where the European debt crisis will obviously dominate much of the talks.

TREASURER:

Well Kieran we're here in the fastest growing economic region on earth, but no country of the 21 countries in APEC is immune from the chill winds which are blowing from both the United States and from Europe when it comes to economic growth. So what I want to see here is a couple of things. First and foremost, I think there'll be a very strong and united voice to tell the Europeans to get on with implementing the plans that they've already committed to and to do that quickly, but secondly, to have a look at a range of reforms which can lift growth in this region. Whilst we're fast growing, we can't afford to rely on the coat tails of Europe or the United States. So what that means is talk about some fundamental structural reforms across the 21 economies here, which over time will lift growth and contribute a greater percentage of global growth, given the misfiring of the big economic engines we've got going on in Europe and the United States

GILBERT:

Mr Swan, you say that you want APEC to speak with one voice when it comes to Europe, how confident are you given the events we are seeing in Italy, the turbulence there, politically as well, that they will get their act together?

TREASURER:

Well I think it's very important that we have a strong voice. We saw a strong voice coming through very clearly from the G20 meetings, and it's important it is heard again. I think we've just got to keep the pressure on the Europeans to implement those reforms, because nobody is immune from the fallout. As I said, the chill winds are blowing and they impact here even in the fastest growing region in the world. No economy here is immune from the fallout from what was going on in Europe and to a lesser extent in the United States. But secondly, what we've seen in our country, in Australia, but also in other countries in this region, is the benefit of structural reforms over a significant period of time which has lifted growth and prepared our economies for the future. We've got to keep that momentum going in this discussion here in this region.

GILBERT:

Treasurer, you secured the carbon tax, your government secured the carbon tax, the passage of it during this week, are you hoping that that might give a bit of momentum in the APEC region, that other companies might move more aggressively in pricing carbon?

TREASURER:

Well other economies in the APEC region are moving. I mean you've only got to look at what China is doing, a variety of different things, but a number of provinces, for example, planning on trialling carbon pricing. You've only got to look at what's happening in the United States: you've got California for example moving to an emissions trading scheme. There is a fair bit happening in the region because the region understands the need to drive the investment in energy efficiency and also, and most particularly, in renewable energy. They understand that to be a first rate economy you've got to be driven by clean energy.

GILBERT:

But our country is the only one to have an economy-wide pricing of carbon, pricing of carbon within the APEC region. Are you hoping that others might follow the lead?

TREASURER:

Well, our model is regarded as best practice and the most efficient, least-cost way of pricing carbon. That's been absolutely clear in all of the studies that have been done including by our Productivity Commission. And one of the subjects here for discussion amongst economies is how do we get the structural reforms in place to make ourselves more efficient across a variety of areas. And the model for that is an emissions trading scheme such as we have put in place in Australia.

GILBERT:

Treasurer, one last question on the Transport Workers Union, apparently considering appealing the Fair Work Australia decision terminating industrial action in the Qantas dispute. What's your message to the TWU?

TREASURER:

Well the Government is opposed to any action which would appeal against the decision of the Fair Work Commission to terminate industrial action, from any party, from the TWU or from employers, we're opposed to any action.

GILBERT:

Mr Swan, appreciate your time, thanks for that.

TREASURER:

Thank you.