Australia's future prosperity depends on further domestic economic reform and greater advocacy at a global level for the rules-based system, federal treasurer Josh Frydenberg argues.
Mr Frydenberg used a speech in Canberra on Tuesday to set out the challenges facing the Australian economy, including competitiveness between the "great powers", low interest rates, high debt levels and an ageing population.
He told the Australian National University's Australian Studies Centre greater global cooperation was needed, recapturing the spirit 75 years ago which led to the set-up of the World Trade Organisation, International Monetary Fund and World Bank.
"Today, Australia wants to see the WTO reinvigorated with a more effective dispute settling mechanism and a broader remit to deal with e-commerce and the opportunities created by the digital economy," he said.
"So too with the IMF, we would like to see change to the governance structures reflecting the greater role played by emerging economies, particularly in Asia.
"With these reforms, these important institutions will be even stronger and more relevant to the task before them."
Mr Frydenberg said Australia was seeking to "embed" openness in new free trade deals it is signing.
Australia now has 70 per cent of its two-way trade in goods and services with countries for which there is a free trade agreement in place.
"Trade is vital to empowered our region and the globe. It continues to bring millions out of poverty. When other nations grow, so too does Australia."
On a domestic level, he said Australia needed to pursue "reforms ... that retain our competitiveness, openness, and fiscal discipline".
Mr Frydenberg pointed to Australia's nearly 30 years of economic growth, despite the IMF recently forecasting sluggish growth of only 1.7 per cent in 2019.
He said it was "not slow growth but slower growth" and the period of low interest rates - the RBA cash rate is at 0.75 per cent - was a "new normal".
Climate protesters briefly gatecrashed the ANU hall hosting the speech, attempting to present the treasurer with a fake cheque from the fossil fuel industry.
"We're grateful for all your help in allowing us to make billions in destroying the planet," said one protester, posing as a mining executive.
Meanwhile most people believe the coalition is better at handling the economy than Labor, a Newspoll conducted for The Australian shows.
Three recent rate cuts by the Reserve Bank, and the government's income tax cuts have failed to inspire confidence and people remain anxious, it says.
The poll shows 52 per cent remain anxious about the economy, while 40 per cent of people remain confident.
It also shows 49 per cent believe the Morrison government's handling of the economy is good, with 39 per cent rating it as poor.
Australian Associated Press