THE HON JIM CHALMERS MP
MEMBER FOR RANKIN
INTRODUCTORY REMARKS: AUSTRALIA NEW ZEALAND LEADERSHIP FORUM
THURSDAY, 7 MAY 2022
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Kia ora and thanks Greg [Lowe] and Pip [Marlow] for that introduction [ANZLF co-chairs], and I want to acknowledge the elders and Indigenous people of both our countries.
It is a pleasure to be at the Forum today, particularly as this group has not met in-person since 2019.
I welcome all our New Zealand friends and colleagues.
With almost a third of our cabinet attending the Australia New Zealand Leadership Forum, this is the largest contingent from an Australian Government in at least a decade.
This speaks to how deeply we value our relationship with New Zealand and how much we want to engage in a genuine discussion across governments, with the trans-Tasman business and wider community.
Many of us have a longstanding affinity.
That’s why some of you may have heard us refer to our “Kiwi Caucus” before.
In my portfolio, I will be lucky enough to work closely with my friend Grant Robertson, and also with the Chairs and CEOs of our four major banks, almost half of whom are New Zealanders themselves.
This Forum’s issues are important to many of us at a personal level.
I come from, grew up in, and now represent an electorate in South-East Queensland, which has the largest number of New Zealand-born residents of any community in Australia, and big Maori and Pasifika communities.
This will continue to shape my thinking as Treasurer, as I work with you and my colleagues to build a stronger and more inclusive economy.
New Zealand and Australia are both navigating some of the most challenging global circumstances in our memory – from the rise in global inflation and rising interest rates, to the war in Ukraine – all while the pandemic still lingers and global supply chains remained strained, especially as China still seeks to suppress COVID.
Both our countries are seeing the acute impact of skyrocketing energy and grocery prices on families, and the impact of widespread skill shortages on our businesses.
So there’s much to discuss – everything from how we can boost the capacity and productivity of our economies, reduce cost of living pressures, work together to tackle climate change, strengthen our people-to-people linkages, support a resilient Indo-Pacific region and create more shared opportunities for our people.
Our new Government also has a lot to learn from New Zealand, and tomorrow I will speak with Grant about New Zealand’s Wellbeing Budget and how to reshape the discussion around the economy and the budget in terms of measuring what matters.
And you may have seen in today’s Australian media that we have already tasked our Treasury to model climate change risks and opportunities for our economy, working closely with Chris Bowen and his team, and across government.
From my perspective, this Forum is about how we can both build stronger, more inclusive and more sustainable economies, together.
There’s no better time for this discussion, and for the chance to continue exploring these ideas over the next few days, including at the session tomorrow on our economic challenges post COVID-19.