The G20 has emerged as the world's pre-eminent international economic and financial decision-making forum, following its pivotal role in successfully responding to the global financial crisis. Australia is proud to have played a key part in reshaping the G20.
As such, work on the G20 has been a key priority for the International Economy and Trade Policy Branch and the Asia, Americas and Trade Branch of the department. PM&C has worked in close collaboration with other Australian Government agencies—particularly the Treasury and the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT)—to support Australia's involvement at the G20 Leaders' Summits. The Pittsburgh G20 Leaders' Summit, on 24-25 September 2009, saw leaders from G20 nations gather for the third time since the global financial crisis began in late 2008, following earlier Summits in Washington in November 2008 and London in April 2009. In Pittsburgh, leaders discussed a range of important issues and reached key agreements on rebalancing the global economy, strengthening the international financial regulatory architecture, enhancing the governance of international institutions, improving energy security, and advancing development and poverty reduction.
On 26-27 June 2010, G20 leaders met again in Toronto. Australia was represented by the Deputy Prime Minister and Treasurer, the Honourable Wayne Swan. The department coordinated Australia's involvement in the Summit, including briefing for the Deputy Prime Minister.
The Toronto Summit covered a wide range of issues including fiscal consolidation, financial regulatory reform, global imbalances, financial safety nets, international financial institution reform, development, climate change, structural reform, jobs and trade.
The Australian 'Sherpa' for the Toronto Summit was PM&C's Deputy Secretary (Economic), Gordon de Brouwer. The role of the Sherpa was to assist the Deputy Prime Minister in his discussions with other leaders in the lead up to, as well as during, the Summit. First Assistant Secretary Patrick Suckling and adviser Lauren Tuohy were also on the ground in Toronto to brief and advise the Deputy Prime Minister. PM&C's work in Toronto and Pittsburgh played a critical role, along with that of the Treasury and DFAT, to ensure that final G20 outcomes recorded in the communiqué strongly reflected Australia's interests.
Key outcomes from the Summit included countries agreeing to halve deficits by 2013 as well as to stabilise or reduce government debt to GDP ratios by 2016 (except Japan), reduce global imbalances, and progress financial regulatory reform. Importantly, proposed new financial regulatory standards will take account of countries' individual circumstances. A PM&C/DFAT proposal to assess the potential benefits of further global trade liberalisation was also adopted.