Thank you, Chair.
May I first congratulate Argentina for placing infrastructure at the centre of the G20 agenda. Australia welcomed the opportunity to co-chair the Infrastructure Working Group. We thank Japan for agreeing to continue this work in 2019.
We all know how important investment in infrastructure is to boosting productivity, economic growth and our competitiveness. Not only is infrastructure a means to provide essential services, it also improves productivity right through the supply chain, creates new opportunities for businesses and improves workforce participation.
However, there is a $5.5 trillion gap between what we are funding and what we need to fund over the next two decades. This is why today’s discussion is so important. Key to bridging this gap is to bring in more private sector investment and address barriers to doing so, including how to better tap the large pool of savings.
The G20 is playing an important role in promoting Argentina’s asset class agenda. We encourage members around the table to continue to focus on building institutional capacity, expanding potential sources of long-term finance and promoting infrastructure as a bankable asset class. The endorsement by finance ministers and central bank governors of the G20 Roadmap to Infrastructure as an Asset Class and the G20 Principles for the Infrastructure Project Preparation Phase are important developments.
In terms of pressing on from here, the Roadmap is a high priority and the proposed development of guidance notes on project preparation will help embed the application of the Principles endorsed by ministers. Ready access to comparable data will be absolutely critical in ensuring the performance of infrastructure investments. Greater contractual standardization will be important in reducing costs. The development of investor user guidance on multilateral development bank guarantee instruments will help crowd in private resources.
We also need to take this opportunity today to emphasise the importance we attach to this work and the desirability of finalising the proposed deliverables.
Finally, we strongly support Japan’s quality agenda in 2019 which will contribute to mobilising private financing by building on the Roadmap to Infrastructure Investment.