• Strength through global cooperation

    The Treasurer attended G20 meetings in London and Pittsburgh in September and in St Andrews in November to progress plans to strengthen the global financial system through transparent and well-regulated markets and financial institutions.

    Treasurer Wayne Swan says the global financial downturn has opened up opportunities for us to forge close links with our international neighbours and lay the foundations for sustainable financial systems - worldwide.

    'All Australians have a stake in making sure that the world comes together to avoid the regulatory shortfalls of the past that have been exposed by the global financial crisis,' Mr Swan said.

    'It is vital for all nations to be able to appropriately monitor the offshore operations and transactions undertaken by businesses, including the improper use of tax havens and other non-cooperative jurisdictions.'

    'The Tax Office has strongly contributed to positioning us as a leader in both regional and international efforts to improve the integrity of our tax and superannuation systems,' he said.

    'This magazine provides a valuable opportunity to discuss the outcomes of our global activities and highlight the work done by the Tax Office to combat international tax evasion.'

    A key component of the G20's plan to reform the regulatory framework of the financial sector is to strengthen the stability and integrity of some countries' tax systems.

    'While most transactions in and out of these jurisdictions are lawful dealings, the financial, legal and tax systems which make them attractive for legitimate purposes can also be used to evade tax, or for other criminal purposes,' Mr Swan said.

    At the G20 meeting in London in early September, Finance Ministers committed to measures to tackle those countries' tax systems that fail to meet regulatory standards and ensure developing nations benefit from the new cooperative tax environment.

    'Over 80 jurisdictions have either implemented or have committed to implement high standards of tax information exchange and transparency, including over 30 jurisdictions originally identified as in need of reform,' he said.

    The G20 Leaders' and Finance Ministers' meeting in Pittsburgh on 24-25 September committed to the reform of the global financial system architecture to meet the needs of the 21st century.

    'The significant global cooperation achieved through the G20 in response to the global recession has enabled critical reforms to be progressed and transformational change in addressing financial system issues to be achieved.'

    Australia's position at the forefront of international efforts to improve tax transparency was recently reinforced when it was elected Chair of the Global Forum on Transparency and Exchange of Information for Tax Purposes.

    This multinational forum is made up of more than 70 jurisdictions and is responsible for the widespread implementation of international standards of transparency and information exchange developed by the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development, and endorsed by the United Nations and the G20.

    These initiatives are part of the Australian Government's efforts to ensure that, as we move through these difficult economic times, we have in place a better regulated and stronger financial system both at home and abroad - a system supported by transparency and effective international cooperation.

      Last modified: 28 Jan 2010QC 28247