Hawker Britton Occasional Papers and Media

Financial Services Summit & New AG Dept Secretary

31 July 2008

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The Prime Minister today addressed leadership of Australia’s financial institutions and regulators at the Financial Services Hub Summit in Sydney.

The purpose of the summit is to discuss new opportunities for the Australian financial services sector and to chart a path forward for government and industry to ensure that Australia’s financial services sector is amongst the most competitive in the world.

The Rudd Labor Government wants to secure Australia’s reputation as a ‘financial services hub’ and is committed to doing so by consulting widely with industry and ensuring that the diverse range of ideas canvassed are considered and implemented promptly.

The Prime Minister emphasised that although the financial services sector is globally integrated and therefore not immune to volatility and uncertainty, Australia is well equipped to endure such developments.  He outlined strengths of the Australian financial services sector including:

The Prime Minister expressed his disappointment at the failure of members to reach an agreement in the Doha Round of WTO negotiations.

The Prime Minister acknowledged the export potential of Australia’s financial services sector.  Globally it is worth more than $150 billion per year with trade growing at an average annual rate of 17 per cent.

Regionally, Australia is well positioned to take advantage of the increase in volume and frequency of the movement of capital, the growing middle-classes and ageing populations of neighbouring Asia-Pacific countries.

Nationally, the Federal Government is implementing a range of key initiatives in tax, deregulation, education, infrastructure and overseas market access including:

The Federal Government will also establish a dedicated team within the Treasury to be a single point of contact for the sector and to take charge of the financial services agenda for the Government.   The team will coordinate policy initiatives including ongoing work with industry organisations such as IFSA, the ABA and the Insurance Council as well as individual businesses.  The team will report to the Financial Sector Advisory Council.

The Prime Minister further announced that:

New Secretary of the Attorney General’s Department

The Prime Minister also announced the appointment of Mr Roger Wilkins AO as the new Secretary of the Attorney General’s Department taking over from Mr Robert Cornall AO.   Mr Wilkins has recently completed a Strategic Review of Climate Change Programs for the Government and currently heads the Government and Public Sector Group, Australia and New Zealand, at Citi. He was Director-General of the New South Wales Cabinet Office from 1992 until 2006.

The media release on the Summit is available here.

The Prime Minister’s speech at the Summit is available here.

The media release on the new Secretary of the Attorney General’s Department is available here.

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