Prime Minister Tony Abbott doesn’t want a cluttered G20 agenda for fear of missing an opportunity to lift global economic growth.
Prime Minister Tony Abbott does not want Australia’s 2014 presidency of the Group of 20 to be overloaded by a cluttered agenda.
Treasurer Joe Hockey will host the first G20 meeting of the year when finance ministers and central bankers from the world’s largest countries gather in Sydney this weekend.
High-profile financial leaders have already praised Mr Hockey’s goals over the next two days.
Mr Abbott said that it is not often that Australia has the chance to be close to the heart of global decision-making.
There must be freer trade, less regulation, more infrastructure, better banking regulation and effective tax systems, he said.
Beyond that, he does not want to clutter up the G20 agenda with every worthy and important cause in which Australia and the rest of the world has an interest.
“If we do, we will squander the opportunity to make a difference in the vital area of economic growth,” Mr Abbott told reporters in Canberra on Friday.
One of Mr Hockey’s key aims is to get an agreement on a global growth target beyond the International Monetary Fund’s forecast of 3.75 per cent for the coming year.
IMF chief Christine Lagarde said on Thursday night this was a good idea, while UK Chancellor of Exchequer George Osborne said: “I’m with Joe.”
“Without that (plan) it would just be an aspiration,” Mr Osborne told a conference in Sydney.
Mr Hockey said such comments were “a step in the right direction”.
“Putting a number on it is a key challenge over the next few days,” he told Sky News.
US Treasury Secretary Jack Lew said despite signs of economic improvement in the US, global growth remains uneven and well below potential.
“We still have work to do,” Mr Lew told reporters in a joint media conference with Mr Hockey.
“We are pleased to see that you have growth strategies at the core of the G20 agenda this year.”
International taxation will be another key item on the G20 agenda which will seek ways to make major digital companies pay their fair share of tax.
“From our perspective it is really important that there be a principle that where you earn the money you pay the tax,” Mr Hockey earlier told Seven Network’s Sunrise program.
Oxfam Australia labelled the international tax system as broken and warned real action was needed with billions of dollars being lost that could be used to lift people out poverty.
“This gap must be plugged,” Oxfam Australia chief executive Helen Szoke said in a statement.
Mr Hockey will also pursue an infrastructure program for both developed and developing economies, with an emphasis on private investment.
“It is the role of governments everywhere to facilitate private sector investment,” he told reporters.
The Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development, in its latest global Going For Growth report released in Sydney on Friday, backed Australia’s push to enhance investment in infrastructure to sustain its generally good economic performance.