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Transcripts from the Prime Ministers of Australia

Transcript 11252


Photo of Howard, John

Howard, John

Period of Service: 11/03/1996 to 03/12/2007

More information about Howard, John on The National Archive website.

Release Date: 17/05/1999

Release Type: Media Release

Transcript ID: 11252

Today the Minister for Financial Services and Regulation, Mr

Hockey, and I are announcing details of the Government's strategy

to promote Australia as a centre for global financial services (CGFS).

Australia has the potential to develop further as a CGFS and to gain

a greater share of world financial services business. That potential

rests on a number of Australia's advantages including an open

and stable financial system; a highly skilled workforce; cost-competitive

business conditions; sound macroeconomic fundamentals and a time zone

advantage over other major regional markets which flows from Australia's

earlier market opening time. The intense international competition

for financial services business means, however, that Australia needs

to pursue more actively its role as a CGFS.

The Government's key role in promoting Australia as a CGFS is

to ensure that the overall economic and regulatory framework continues

to be of international best practice. The implementation of the A

New Tax System reform proposals, the progression of business tax

reform in the context of the Ralph Review of Business Taxation, and

the maintenance of sound macroeconomic policy settings are crucial

elements in that framework.

There is also an important role for the Government in facilitating

more effective and coordinated promotion of Australia as a CGFS. In

recognition of this, the 1999-00 Budget provided $7 million over the

next two years to fund this promotional strategy. Today's announcement

provides further details on this strategy.

International Financial Centre Task Force

An International Financial Centre Task Force will be established within

the Department of the Treasury and located in Sydney to develop and

implement a coordinated CGFS promotional campaign. It will also provide

policy advice on this issue to the Government.

The Task Force will become operational on 1 July 1999, be staffed

with professionals from both the private and public sectors and will

be headed by a senior financial sector executive, with considerable

industry experience and marketing expertise. The Task Force will have

a two year life span after which it is envisaged that the CGFS promotional

strategy will be taken over by the private sector.

The Task Force will report to the Minister for Financial Services

and Regulation, Mr Hockey, who will lead the campaign to promote

Australia as a CGFS.

To assist the work of the Task Force, the Government will also establish

a CGFS Committee of Regulators, chaired by the Treasury and including

the Reserve Bank of Australia, the Australian Prudential Regulation

Authority, the Australian Securities and Investments Commission, the

Australian Competition and Consumer Commission and the Australian

Taxation Office.

The Committee of Regulators will meet regularly to consider CGFS regulatory

and promotional issues and will report to the Treasurer and Minister

for Financial Services and Regulation.

Other elements of the strategy

Other elements of the strategy which will complement the promotional

campaign include:

* improved data collection to benchmark Australia's performance

and assist the long term development of policy options to promote

Australia as a CGFS;

* a range of education and training initiatives to help Australia

become a key training ground for the financial sector; and

* the re-opening of Treasury's regional office in Singapore

as part of Australia's High Commission to improve the quality

of advice to the Government on regional economic and financial


This initiative will enhance Australia's capacity to participate

fully in the strong global growth in the financial services industry

to the benefit of all Australians.

17 May 1999

Transcript 11252