14 November 2014
Transcript - #2014038, 2014

Interview with Greg Jennett, ABC News 24

GREG JENNETT:

Now, that's a pretty high level of activity at Brisbane airport. If you were a government MP, indeed a Parliamentary Secretary from Queensland it trusts upon you new duties and Steven Ciobo fits that bill. He's the Parliamentary Secretary to the Treasurer. Welcome Steve, you must all feel also feel a bit like you're a policeman or a fireman on all hours call out duty. Just tell us about what your role has been so far.

STEVEN CIOBO:

Well of course there's an aspect of it that's a formal process. So we've seen the opportunity to go out to the airport as I and a number of colleagues have done over the past 24, 48 hours just to officially welcome guests to Australia. They want to know of course if they're going to be met and officially greeted. We've been doing that process with heads of state as well as some others such as the multilateral banks. Christine Lagarde from the IMF flew in this morning, Jim Kim the president of the World Bank this morning. So there is a lot of activity going on.

JENNETT:

I know it's a massive logistical exercise. So far it all seems to be going pretty smoothly, indeed too smoothly. Could one observation be made that this is the summit that has cleared the city. Where are the people?

CIOBO:

I think really this is culmination of literally more than a years planning. I hope ... The Treasurer and I went through the walk through within the Convention Centre yesterday and spoke with hundreds of volunteers. Australians from the length and breadth of this country are really putting their shoulder to the wheel and that's the reason why it's all going so well thus far and I'm sure it will continue to go so well.

In terms of Brisbane residents, look they'll make a decision about whether they want to stay in the city or head out. Obviously a large number have chosen to go to the Gold Coast or the Sunshine Coast for the long weekend.

JENNETT:

It feels a little soulless in that respect but I suppose it makes it a little easier for the security operation, the fact that the place has been largely cleared out. Was jawboning people to go away and take some time off, was that part of the planned process?

CIOBO:

We want to make sure that businesses in the city are open. We want to make sure that businesses in the city continue to have customers going through them, so it's business as usual. Obviously there will be some interruptions with the odd motorcade and things like that. But I've got to say if you're in Brisbane I'd certainly encourage people to come into to the town and if they want to try to see Barack Obama's motorcade go past then they can do that.

JENNETT:

All right, now let's talk a bit about the program. It really doesn't begin until tomorrow. There seems to be a bit of an international clamour, certainly a lot of questions about where climate change might sit. The reason for that is obvious with what China and US have done. How might that work in the mechanics of how the G20 operates? Can you make a big bold statement on climate change when it really hasn't been a dominant theme of the years work so far?

CIOBO:

Well we will be making a big bold statement on jobs and growth because that has been central for us, for the Abbott Government, for the entirety of this year. We really want to make sure that the G20 is what is effectively the world's premier economic body deals with what its primary charge is and that's to do with jobs and to do with growth. Now obviously climate change is part of the tapestry of global growth. But it's easy to capture and I think it's wrong to isolate any one particular thread. The fact is that we want to make sure this is about outstanding success in terms of the leaders summit. It builds on the great work that we've come to thus far.

Climate change will be part of the discussion. Some countries might raise it. But ultimately the real focus has been on that growth aspiration of an additional two percent.

JENNETT:

Do you think there's a lack of courtesy in a way in not having brought this by several powers, not really Australia but others, not having brought this on to the G20 a little earlier? Because you've got this spectacle now of where you get a major leader's announcement in Beijing. And yet the Australian government is absolutely focused on, as you say, growth at this stage.

CIOBO:

Well it's not just the Australian Government, it's the G20. The G20 members have been focused on our pledge to have an aspirational additional two per cent global growth. I think it's important we retain some context. Additional two per cent global growth and the nearly thousand or so reforms that have been put forward or achieved translates to an extra two trillion dollars in the global economy. That translates to tens of millions of jobs. So I certainly don't want to see that lost because some people want us to focus on one particular aspect.

JENNETT:

Yeah, fair enough. Let's talk about that two trillion dollars and the two percent. There are plenty of economists out there saying it's not going to make it, not in five years anyway because some countries are really struggling to get anywhere near three per cent and you're looking to push them towards that. Or the G20 is, not necessarily Australia. It's a big ask isn't it?

CIOBO:

Yes it is a big ask. It's called a stretch path. But the point is though that the Treasurer back in Sydney made it clear, got all the details from the member states to sign up to let us grow an additional two percent. Now the modelling that's been done by the IMF and the OECD indicates, and we saw comments from the OECD President who indicated that we anticipate that the reforms that have been put forward to achieve growth at an additional 2.1 percent.

So that is great news… [inaudible]

JENNETT:

Now all of execution that can be tracked and measured out over five years. Let's talk about a what if. What if they get nowhere near it is there reputation damage to the credibility of the G20 if this one just dissipates out in to the either in the next five years.

CIOBO:

Well I think that every member state has an obligation to follow through on the reforms that they put forward. Australia has outlined our initiatives, other countries have outlined their initiatives. We really want the G20 to drive growth. We didn't want it to continue to drift. We didn't want it to just be a talk. We want it to drive global growth. And by driving global growth we change people's lives. And that really is the power of the G20.

So I think it will fall upon leaders of the various countries to say this is what we're going to do. We want to follow through on that. Obviously we've got the power to do that. [inaudible].

JENNETT:

If only domestic politics, there's no punitive action or suggestion of that action coming from this collective.

CIOBO:

There is punitive, because if countries don't follow through on these reforms, the people that ultimately face the consequences are the people of these particular counties. Globally we all suffer from it because we don't achieve that extra growth. And that is precise reason we're saying let's go for growth. That's why we in Australia have an Economic Action Strategy and why we've got 125 billion dollars in infrastructure we're looking at rolling out, productive infrastructure. All of us collectively want to make sure we start paying our debt and we want to make sure that we grow the economy more strongly.

JENNETT:

All right, well Steve Ciobo you've got more duties out of the airport this afternoon I believe, is that right? Who's due in for you?

CIOBO:

The World Trade Organization president's flying in this afternoon and there's a load of other leaders as well. Of course the Prime Minister as you mentioned, Prime Minister Abbott and Prime Minister Cameron arrive later this afternoon.

JENNETT:

Well best of luck with your diplomacy and thanks for joining us this afternoon.