Today I will attend the Annual meetings of the IMF and World Bank in Tokyo to discuss the challenges facing the global economy with my international colleagues and continue our work to support global economic growth.
At a time when global economic recovery is increasingly uncertain, these meetings will provide an important opportunity to get a first-hand assessment from my international counterparts of the regional and global economic outlook
The Australian economy and the budget are not immune from significant global headwinds, but we confront these challenges from a position of virtually unrivalled strength.
Australia continues to have solid growth, low unemployment, contained inflation and strong public finances. We have just recorded 21 consecutive years of economic growth, and our economy is expected to outperform every major advanced economy this year and next.
As the IMF confirmed this week, Australia has moved up the ranks to become the 12th largest economy in the world, having risen three places under the Labor Government from 15th, after slipping back three places under the previous government. This achievement is even more encouraging given Australia has only the 51st largest population.
The Government remains on track to return the budget to surplus in 2012-13, well ahead of every major advanced economy, although weaker global growth and lower commodity prices will clearly make this task much harder.
The IMF has this week warned of the risks to global growth if further policy action is not forthcoming from Europe and the US. These meetings will encourage global policy makers to bring a renewed sense of urgency to taking the necessary actions for a sustainable global recovery.
Given global economic uncertainty, it is essential that we have global economic institutions in place which are credible and effective. As such, at these meetings, I will advocate for a renewed effort to implement reforms to the IMF quota and governance arrangements to reflect the shift in global economic weight.
I will also attend the second meeting of East Asia Summit Finance Ministers, which will provide a timely opportunity to discuss regional economic development and common challenges facing the East Asian region.
I will also participate in a meeting with past, current and future G20 host countries - in advance of Australia joining the G20 Troika group on 1 December this year.
This will be an early opportunity to work with my colleagues to shape the broader G20 agenda ahead of Australia's G20 Presidency in 2014.
In addition to these meetings, I will have discussions with key investors and business leaders in Tokyo and deliver the message that while no country can expect to be immune from global threats, with strong economic management, Australia continues to have one of the strongest set of economic fundamentals in the developed world.