Opening remarks, meeting with the Indonesian Minister of Finance, Sri Mulyani, Canberra
May I start by acknowledging the elders, customs and traditions of the Ngunnawal, Ngambri and all First Nations peoples of Australia.
And saying what an absolute pleasure it is to welcome you back to Canberra, Minister Sri Mulyani – Ibu Sri – and your colleagues.
In welcoming you, His Excellency Ambassador Siswo Pramono, and your officials, I know I speak on behalf of my Treasury and Finance colleagues when I say:
We are very grateful to have an Indonesian counterpart of your experience and warmth, caliber and candor.
And even luckier to have come to government at a time when Indonesia leads the G20.
We have a new government, but it’s not a new friendship.
As you know, Katy Gallagher has only recently returned from important meetings in your country.
Andrew Leigh spent three of his early childhood years there.
I thank them both for joining us in the discussions that we will have shortly.
I also acknowledge that a number of my colleagues have taken the time to learn Bahasa Indonesian and immerse themselves in your culture.
You and I first met more than ten years ago now, during your first term as Minister of Finance.
More recently, you were the first international call I made as Treasurer.
The first bilateral in person.
The first engagement abroad.
And now the first counterpart I hosted in our nation’s capital.
So today is the signing of a new memorandum of understanding.
And the beginning of a very important economic policy dialogue.
But it’s more than those two things – it’s a gathering of friends.
Friends committed to building stronger global and national economies for the benefit of our people.
This memorandum of understanding builds on 15 years of cooperation between our departments –
It has already helped us to share knowledge and views on taxation, financial regulation, tax policy, etc.
And our economic ties have been further strengthened by making the most of study visits, political dialogues and deployments.
That’s why we’re deepening and renewing the MOU today –
So that we can continue to share policy experiences in key reform areas and build the capacity of our two departments.
I am very happy that you are here in person to sign it with me and that the economic dialogue can also take place face to face.
The last time we were in the same room, you expertly – and may I say very patiently – led a difficult meeting of G20 finance ministers.
In the face of searing anger at Russia’s illegal and immoral war in Ukraine, you have managed to ensure that other pressing issues are not ignored.
Your efforts to bring people together have been extraordinary.
And that progress has been made in areas such as the Common Debt Framework and global food security is a tribute to you.
I look forward to joining you in the United States next month to advance our programs and prepare the ground for the G20 Leaders’ Summit in November.
You will have Australia’s full support as we navigate difficult terrain.
When we meet, we will have less than a fortnight until our first budget – and deeply worrying global conditions will serve as the backdrop.
Let’s not mince our words: our challenges are intensifying, they are not dissipating.
Inflation is stalking the world, with central banks reacting decisively and outspokenly; global growth is slowing; most risks are on the downside.
The US and UK economies are upside down, and China’s is slowing.
Meanwhile, in Europe, the war in Ukraine has triggered an energy crisis that shows no signs of abating.
The Managing Director of the IMF has warned that we cannot rule out another global recession.
Here in Australia, we have a lot going for us – solid growth and low unemployment in mind – but we are not spared.
Like many other countries around the world, we are experiencing this now familiar combination of supply chain disruptions, high energy prices, soaring inflation and falling real wages.
Although global factors are at the root of many of our challenges, they do not explain them all.
In fact, our problems with real wage growth, skills shortages, weak business investment and stagnating productivity have been brewing for a decade.
Australia’s new government recognizes that they cannot be tamed without genuine collaboration and cooperation –
Here in Australia, with our Indonesian friends, and with the world beyond.
Earlier this month, Prime Minister Anthony Albanese and I convened a jobs and skills summit to bring people together around these economic challenges.
Its success has reminded us that we achieve much more when we work together than when we are isolated or against the grain.
This is the approach we take in our relations with Indonesia.
With this in mind, our officials will speak today about the global economy, but also about retirement savings, investment and climate change.
I was delighted to see Deputy Treasurer Stephen Jones leading a superannuation delegation to Jakarta just a few weeks ago.
Our super pool is worth $3.4 trillion and it will only grow, expanding investment opportunities in markets like yours.
Australia was Indonesia’s 15th largest investor in 2021, and I know we can go higher on that list.
Our funds have an important role to play in addressing the housing shortage, but also in the transition to clean energy: making the kinds of investments that maximize financial returns while contributing to a stronger, more sustainable economy.
By the end of the year, we plan to consult on standardized and internationally harmonized reporting requirements for climate-related disclosures.
We hope this sparks a broader conversation about clean energy and climate finance.
And we know it will help investors identify clean energy opportunities, helping to drive our emissions to net zero by 2050.
Our government recognizes and commends Indonesia’s significant efforts here and the political courage you have shown.
We are pleased to partner with you, including through the establishment of the $200 million infrastructure and climate fund for Indonesia announced by the Prime Minister in June.
We look forward to more collaboration and cooperation –
Here in Australia, between Australia and Indonesia, with the region, and with the world.
We see the Memorandum of Understanding, your presidency of the G20, the dialogue today, all the work to come on investment and clean energy, from the same angle.
Thank you and I look forward to strengthening our friendship and participating in today’s discussions.