I welcome all of you to the first meeting for this year of the Treasurers of Australia. And, in particular, can I welcome the many new Treasurers since our last meeting. Gladys Berejiklian from New South Wales, Tim Pallas from Victoria, Curtis Pitt from Queensland and Peter Gutwein from Tasmania. And I think the eldest statesman Andrew Barr. In fact, Tom’s probably second.
I’m third to you, Joe.
Right, thank you Tom. We have a very full meeting today obviously. We will be having a fairly lengthy discussion I’d expect on GST relativities and distributions to the States. We will be having quite a detailed presentation on the state of the national economy, on the Intergenerational Report, foreign investment matters as well. Particularly the establishment of a single national register for foreign investors. We also have a number of other issues that are going to be raised including discussion about housing shortfalls in Australia and, importantly, how we can better take advantage of the Asset Recycling Fund the Commonwealth has laid down. There is no doubt in our mind that the Australian economy is improving. It is patchy in certain places, certainly the falling iron ore price has had an impact on Western Australia, and the falling coal price has had an impact on Queensland. But there are good signs in the Australian economy that indicate that we are withstanding significant external pressures. I think there is a deep resolve amongst all of us to strengthen the Australian economy, and to work together collaboratively, cast aside political differences and work together to strengthen the Australian economy and create more jobs throughout the nation. Having said all of that, we will thank our friends in the media and get underway with work.