Tomorrow I will meet with G20 Finance Ministers and Central Bank Governors in Washington DC before attending this weekend's Spring Meetings of the IMF and World Bank.
These meetings will provide further insight into current global economic challenges as we prepare for next month's Budget. They follow meetings I held in New York yesterday with key investors and business leaders. I also met with senior executives of credit rating agencies Standard & Poor's and Moody's.
My consultations in New York confirm that the international economic environment in the near-term remains volatile. The Japanese earthquake and tsunami, the European sovereign debt situation, and the impacts of unrest in the Middle East and North Africa have tested the strength of the global recovery.
For Australia, these challenges come on top of the devastating effects of the Queensland and Victorian floods, and Cyclone Yasi, which will have a substantial short-term hit on both our Budget and our economy.
However, my discussions also confirm that longer-term growth prospects, particularly for our region, are strong. This is driving an historic investment boom for Australia, and reinforces the need for fiscal discipline in the upcoming Budget so that government and the private sector are not competing for the same resources in the years ahead. A key priority of the G20 meeting will be sustaining the global recovery and making progress towards more balanced international growth.
In discussions with G20 Finance Ministers, I will emphasise the need for the G20 to focus on job creation, which is an important part of efforts to rebalance the global economy.
I also look forward to detailed discussions on financial regulation reform, commodity prices, and reform of the international monetary system.
I will be meeting with a number of my international counterparts, including Japanese Finance Minister Yoshihiko Noda to whom I will convey Australia's condolences following the horrific earthquake and tsunami last month and reaffirm our commitment to help Japan's recovery.
14 April 2011