Opening remarks, meeting with Indonesian Finance Minister Sri Mulyani, Canberra

19 September 2022

Can I begin by acknowledging the elders, customs and traditions of the Ngunnawal, the Ngambri, and all of the First Nations people of Australia.

And by saying what an absolute pleasure it is to welcome you, Minister Sri Mulyani – Ibu Sri – and your colleagues back to Canberra.






Can I begin by acknowledging the elders, customs and traditions of the Ngunnawal, the Ngambri, and all of the First Nations people of Australia.

And by saying what an absolute pleasure it is to welcome you, Minister Sri Mulyani – Ibu Sri – and your colleagues back to Canberra.

In welcoming you, His Excellency Ambassador Siswo Pramono, and your officials, I know I speak for my colleagues from Treasury and Finance when I say:

We are so very grateful to have an Indonesian counterpart of your experience and warmth, your calibre and candour.

And even more fortunate to have come to government at a time when Indonesia is guiding the G20.

Ours is a new government, but this is not a new friendship.

As you know, Katy Gallagher has only recently returned from important meetings in your country.

Andrew Leigh spent three of his formative childhood years there.

I thank them both for joining us in the discussions we will have shortly.

I also recognise that a number of my colleagues have taken the time to learn Bahasa Indonesia, and to immerse themselves in your culture.

You and I first met more than a decade ago now, during your first stint as Finance Minister.

More recently, you were the first international call I made as Treasurer.

The first in‑person bilateral.

The first engagement abroad.

And now, the first counterpart I’ve welcomed to our national capital.

So today is the signing of a new Memorandum of Understanding.

And the start of a very important Economic Policy Dialogue.

But it’s more than both of those things – it’s a gathering of friends.

Friends determined to build stronger global and domestic economies in the interests of our people.

This Memorandum of Understanding builds on 15 years of cooperation between our departments –

Already it’s helped us share knowledge and perspectives on tax, financial regulation, fiscal policy, and more.

And our economic ties have been strengthened further by making the most of study visits, policy dialogues and deployments.

That’s why we deepen and renew the MOU today –

So that we can continue sharing policy experiences in key reform areas and build capacity in both our departments.

I’m very pleased you’re here in person to sign it with me and that the Economic Dialogue can take place face to face as well.

The last time we were in the same room you were expertly – and can I say very patiently – chairing a difficult meeting of G20 finance ministers.

In the face of white‑hot anger towards Russia’s illegal and immoral war in Ukraine, you managed to ensure other urgent issues weren’t ignored.

Your efforts to bring people together were extraordinary.

And that progress was made in areas such as the Common Framework for Debt treatment, and global food security, is a tribute to you.

I look forward to joining you in the US next month to help advance our agendas and prepare the ground for the G20 Leaders’ Summit in November.

You will have Australia’s full support as we navigate some tricky terrain.

When we meet, it will be less than a fortnight before our first Budget – and deeply concerning global conditions will provide the backdrop for it.

Let’s not mince words: our challenges are intensifying, not dissipating.

Inflation stalks the world, with central banks responding decisively and bluntly; global growth is slowing; most risks are tilted to the downside.

The United States and United Kingdom’s economies are in reverse, and China’s is decelerating.

Meanwhile, in Europe, the war in Ukraine has sparked an energy crisis that shows no signs of abating. 

The IMF Managing Director has warned that we can’t rule out another global recession.

Here in Australia, we have some things going for us – solid growth and low unemployment chief amongst them – but we aren’t spared.

We are, like many other countries around the world, experiencing that now familiar combination of supply chain disruptions, high energy prices, skyrocketing inflation and falling real wages.

While global factors are behind many of our challenges, they do not account for them all.

In fact, our issues with real wage growth, skills shortages, weak business investment and flatlining productivity are a decade in the making.

The new Australian government recognises they can’t be tamed without genuine collaboration and cooperation –

Here in Australia, with our Indonesian friends, and with the world beyond. 

Earlier this month Prime Minister Anthony Albanese and I convened a Jobs and Skills Summit to bring people together around these economic challenges.

Its success was a real reminder that we achieve so much more when we work together, than when isolated or at cross purposes.

This is the approach we bring to our relationship with Indonesia.

In that light, our officials will be talking today about the global economy but also about retirement savings, investment, and climate change.

I was pleased to see the Assistant Treasurer Stephen Jones lead a superannuation delegation to Jakarta only weeks ago.

Our super pool is worth $3.4 trillion and that is only going to grow, broadening opportunities for investment in markets like yours.

Australia was Indonesia’s 15th biggest investor in 2021, and I know we can move further up that list.

Our funds have a big role to play in addressing our housing shortage, but also in the clean energy transition: making the kinds of investment which maximise financial returns while contributing to a stronger, more sustainable economy.

By years’ end, we plan to consult on standardised, internationally aligned reporting requirements for climate‑related disclosures.

We hope this prompts a broader conversation about clean energy and climate financing.

And we know it will help investors identify opportunities on offer in clean energy, helping to drive our emissions towards net zero by 2050.

Our government recognises and welcomes Indonesia’s important efforts here and the political courage you have shown.

We are glad to partner with you, including through the establishment of the $200 million infrastructure and climate fund for Indonesia which the Prime Minister announced in June.

We look forward to more collaboration and cooperation -

Here in Australia, between Australia and Indonesia, with the region, and with the world.

We see the MOU, your G20 presidency, today’s dialogue, all the work to come on investment and clean energy, in the same light.

Thank you and I look forward to strengthening our friendship and to the discussions today.