Treasurer Joe Hockey and Reserve Bank governor Glenn Stevens will co-host the G20 finance ministers meeting in Sydney this weekend.
Federal Treasurer Joe Hockey insists this weekend’s G20 meeting will be important for Australians as it focuses on future global growth and jobs.
Finance ministers and central bankers from the world’s major developed and developing economies will start arriving in Sydney in the next few days for this weekend’s gathering, the first major G20 meeting under Australia’s 2014 presidency.
“It’s a big event, we should be proud we’re hosting it, but we have got a job to do to drive a strong agenda on growth,” Mr Hockey told reporters in Sydney on Tuesday.
He said there will be a “remarkably strong” attendance, while noting that finance ministers from Mexico and South Africa won’t be there because of domestic issues.
World Bank president Jim Yong Kim will also be absent.
However, Mr Hockey was “incredibly pleased” that the finance ministers from Indonesia, India and Singapore will be coming at a time when they are dealing with their own budget issues.
US Federal Reserve chair Janet Yellen, IMF chief Christine Lagarde, US Treasury Secretary Jack Lew, European Central Bank president Mario Draghi and Britain’s Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne will attend the two-day meeting.
Mr Hockey said that while Australians may question the need to hold the meeting, currencies and business taxes will be under the spotlight, and they impact on everyone.
There will be an emphasis on infrastructure, and how best to channel money from around the world into Australia and all the other countries that desperately need new and upgraded facilities.
The meeting will also be looking at global taxation arrangements, particularly in the digital age, and nail down financial regulation so that it is easier for the private sector to get money out into new investments, he said.
Infrastructure will be a key issue for business leaders during a closed-door roundtable hosted by Mr Hockey and Wesfarmers chief executive and the Australia B20 chairman Richard Goyder on Friday.
The group also wants to slash trade and investment barriers, increase labour mobility and free up capital flows from the finance sector to fund the economy.
Former Labor treasurer Wayne Swan urged the government to avoid playing “tacky” domestic politics when it fronts the G20.
He labelled a speech by Prime Minister Tony Abbott at a World Economic Forum meeting in Davos last month as “partisan” and “very unfortunate” as it took aim at Labor’s stimulus spending.
Mr Abbott will host the G20 leaders’ meeting in Brisbane in November, with likely guests including US President Barack Obama, British Prime Minister David Cameron and German Chancellor Angela Merkel.