Treasurer Joe Hockey opened a two-day G20 meeting in Cairns under a heavy police presence.

Joe Hockey hopes his G20 counterparts are ready to make the world a better place during their meeting this weekend in far north Queensland.

The federal treasurer got the two-day meeting of the world’s richest nations in Cairns under way on Saturday, saying they had the opportunity to “change the destiny of the global economy”.

The first international gathering since the Abbott government raised the threat level a week ago is being conducted under a heavy police presence through the streets of the resort town.

Police assistant commissioner for the G20 program Katarina Carrol told journalists that she was aware of at least one protest planned for Sunday morning.

Mr Hockey secured an historic agreement at the G20 meeting in Sydney in February to lift global growth by an additional two per cent over the next five years.

He said more than 900 different initiatives have since been put forward by members.

“We are determined to make the world a better place, to grow the global economy, to make more and better paying jobs,” he said opening the meeting.

Richard Goyder, the chair of the B20 – the business arm of the G20 – says the meeting comes at a critical time for the global economy.

Mr Goyder, who is also the boss of Wesfarmers, says there are 62 million less people employed than before the global financial crisis, while there are some 300 million young people unemployed.

“That is a crisis. There is no time to lose,” Mr Goyder told reporters.

Saturday’s discussions concentrated on the global economic outlook, growth strategies and infrastructure investment, leading into a working dinner.

On Sunday the focus will be on global tax recommendations put forward by the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development(OECD) and financial regulations proposals submitted by the international Financial Stability Board.

Mr Hockey intends to lead from the front in the battle against multinational tax dodgers.

The OECD through the G20 has been working on reform that creates better transparency, automatic exchange of information between countries and a common reporting standard.

“Australia will kick-off the process by committing to implementation of a new reporting standard in 2017,” Mr Hockey told reporters.

It would make Australia a leader in the pack for change.

” We are absolutely determined to insure that companies and individuals pay tax in Australia on their earnings in Australia,” he said.

Civil Society 20 (C20) deputy chair Cassandra Goldie wants the G20’s growth plan to include a commitment to boosting the incomes of the world’s poorest.

“We are certainly looking to the leaders to commit to work on an appropriate measure of how to reduce inequality,” Ms Goldie, who is also the boss of the Australian Council of Social Service, told journalists.

G20 representatives will be presented with a didgeridoo painted by local indigenous people as a memento of their trip to Cairns.