The Civil Society 20 group says the G20 growth plan should include a commitment to boosting the incomes of the world’s poorest.
The G20’s goal of lifting world growth by a further two per cent must include a commitment to raise the incomes of the world’s poorest by the same amount, a global civil society group says.
Finance ministers and central bankers from the world’s biggest economies are meeting in Cairns this weekend – an event that will set the framework for November’s leaders summit in Brisbane.
At their meeting in February in Sydney, the first under Australia’s 2014 presidency, Treasurer Joe Hockey struck a historic deal with his counterparts that set a two per cent growth target above current projections, over the next five years.
Mr Hockey, who is co-chairing the finance meeting, met with leaders from groups representing the world’s business and civil sectors, among others, on Saturday morning.
Civil Society 20 (C20) deputy chair Cassandra Goldie told the treasurer the group 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 CEO of the Australian Council of Social Service, told media in Cairns on Saturday.
“We believe we should have a focus on a commensurate growth on the incomes of the households in the bottom 20 per cent.
“So if we’re pursuing a two per cent growth target then we should be looking to pursue at the minimum in terms of an outcome a growth in the income levels of the same percentage point.”
Ms Goldie said the world’s poorest are the most important when it comes to delivering on economic, social and environmental outcomes from growth.
The C20 supports the two per cent growth target set earlier this year but, Ms Goldie said, it can’t be for growth’s sake and must ensure those who have the least benefit.
Consultation over growth strategies need to look beyond governments and business, and include involvement of civil groups, she said.
Ms Goldie urged finance leaders to put forward clear plans for growth that included boosting the number of jobs.
She added that reducing the impacts of climate change should be a core purpose of the G20 as it affects economic growth.
The C20 is a platform for dialogue between the political leaders of G20 countries and representatives of civil society organisations.