Cairns is preparing to host the G20 finance minister’s meeting, with hundreds of people streaming into the Queensland city and local children very excited.
The person seated next to Treasurer Joe Hockey at the G20 finance ministers’ meeting round table loves painting and foxes, but she knows very little about money.
“I know [the G20] must be important because all of the parents and teachers are here,” eight-year-old Fern Agius tells AAP moments after Mr Hockey promoted her to the position of Reserve Bank Governor.
“I had no idea it had anything to do with money.”
On Wednesday, Fern was among a group of primary school students who got a rare look at the room where finance ministers and central bankers from the world’s largest economies will meet in Cairns at the weekend.
After handing out awards to the winners of the G20 Cairns art competition, Mr Hockey invited the children into the high security meeting room at the local convention centre.
The students squealed when they were asked to take a seat around the table which sits in the centre of a large conference room kitted out with huge screens.
“It was amazing,” the Aloomba State School student told AAP after Mr Hockey waived goodbye.
“It must be a very important competition.
“I painted the Great Barrier Reef, but I also drew a Kiwi and a fox as well because I like them.”
During a short speech Mr Hockey thanked the students for their art work, which is on display outside the event, and praised them for welcoming delegates with such great weather.
In explaining what the G20 finance ministers’ meeting was about, Mr Hockey said: “for you guys it means jobs and your future”.
The treasurer cancelled a planned press conference, his staff explaining he didn’t have the time.
About 2000 people, including delegates, their families and international media, have begun arriving in Queensland’s tropical north for the weekend event.
An extra 800 police are patrolling the streets and officers have additional powers under the G20 Safety and Security Act within an area that runs from the airport to the central city.
Police say they’re in talks with three unnamed groups who are considering holding protests during the event, although organisers are yet to confirm.
Last week, two people pleaded guilty to wilful damage after they were caught writing an anti-G20 slogan using chalk spray on the Cairns esplanade.
A 60-year-old grandmother will also face court on October 1 charged with wilful damage of a pole in a public place by placing an anti-G20 sticker on it.