Industrial relations reform on G20 agenda
Taxation, the digital economy and the need for structural reforms to create more jobs will be on the discussion table at the G20, announces Treasurer Joe Hockey.PT2M32S http://www.canberratimes.com.au/action/externalEmbeddedPlayer?id=d-339wu 620 349 February 23, 2014
Structural reform, including industrial relations reform, will be a key part of any G20 agreement to spur global economic growth in the next few years, Federal Treasurer Joe Hockey says.
But there is already agreement that large pools of private sector funds around the world will need to be tapped to fund much-needed infrastructure projects.
Speaking after a night of negotiations at the G20 Finance Ministers meeting in Sydney, Mr Hockey said few countries in the G20 realised they had such similar problems accessing capital to fund important infrastructure projects.
If global economic growth rates are to improve – a leaked G20 draft communique suggests growth could be boosted by "at least 2 per cent" above current forecasts over five years if private investment is encouraged – these private sources of capital will need to be tapped, he said.
"There's no silver bullet … [but] there was recognition that there is a lot of money in the private sector … ready to go into infrastructure and public-private partnerships in particular," Mr Hockey said of Saturday's meetings.
"Everyone walked away knowing that we are going to have, during the course of this year, some real and positive outcomes in relation to infrastructure."
Mr Hockey signalled the need for countries to work together to deal with rapid changes to the global taxation regime brought about by globalisation.
He said member countries recognised that they had to confront the issue of taxation minimisation in the digital age.
However, he would not say if Australia's employment protection regime would be watered down in a bid to boost economic growth.
The draft G20 communique, seen by Fairfax Media, urges Australia to cut its employment protection framework, such as unfair dismissal laws, by 10 per cent over five years.
Mr Hockey said there had been "extensive discussion" on Saturday about the decision by the US Federal Reserve to slow down its stimulus spending - but he did not comment on reports of disagreement about the impact that that decision was having on the economies of developing countries.
The International Monetary Fund warned last week that advanced economies should avoid pulling back their stimulus spending too quickly.
The IMF said central banks ought to better coordinate their so-called "exit plans", which is something many emerging market policymakers have called for as the US Federal Reserve begins to wind down its support for the US economy.
Mr Hockey praised the new chairwoman of the US Federal Reserve, Janet Yellen, who recently replaced Ben Bernanke as head of the world's most powerful central bank.
Ms Yellen's appointment was welcome at a time when there are great sensitivities associated with the US policy of tapering, he said.
"Dr Yellen is exactly the right person at exactly the right time for the US Fed," Mr Hockey said.
The G20's communique will be released to the public on Sunday afternoon.