This issue of the Monitor focuses on the role of the G20 in infrastructure, tax and energy governance. The Monitor opens with a reflection on a conference jointly hosted by the Reserve Bank of Australia, the Productivity Commission and the Lowy Institute, titled ‘Financial Flows and Infrastructure Financing’. There is also a note on trade.

Key findings

  • Ensuring that the right public infrastructure projects are selected is more important than the question of how they will be financed. As such, the G20 should designate appropriate project selection as the foundation stone of its infrastructure agenda.
  • The MDBs can make a major contribution to reducing the global infrastructure gap, provided their actions begin with the principle of additionality. Private sector involvement is a desirable secondary goal and should be promoted wherever business finance produces a more efficient approach, but it should not supersede the MDBs’ preoccupation with an investment strategy built around value for money.
  • Focusing on infrastructure investment for macroeconomic growth can, but does not automatically, benefit people living in extreme poverty, Australia needs to use its outreach program to talk to LICs about the possible prioritisation of infrastructure investment within the G20 agenda.
  • Australia’s G20 presidency is a rare and time-bound opportunity to influence the process guiding tax reforms around base erosion and profit shifting. Better tax compliance and transparency will help to address poverty and inequality globally and within Asia and the Pacific.
  • The G20 has a number of energy issues on its work program, including energy efficiency, yet it has not adequately addressed the prior need for a revision of the global energy governance framework itself. The G20 should push for an elevation of the International Energy Agency into a truly global forum that brings together all the major energy producers and consumers on equal basis.
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