BGA’s Australia team, led by Managing Director Fergus Hanson, wrote an update to clients on developments in Australia’s economic and business outlook. The update addressed recent local, national and sectoral developments as well as the implications for companies.

One of the key developments discussed was the meeting of Prime Ministers Scott Morrison and Jacinda Ardern in Queenstown on May 31 for the annual Australia-New Zealand Leaders’ Meeting. The update noted that the development held importance not only to build rapport between the two leaders, but also for economics and business. For instance, both leaders expressed their commitment to promoting the ratification and implementation of the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) and to negotiating the upgrade and modernization of the ASEAN-Australia-New Zealand Free Trade Agreement (AANZFTA).

The meeting came alongside other international and domestic events of note. Internationally, for instance, Australia’s Mathias Cormann began his five-year term as secretary-general of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) on June 1 – the first secretary-general to emerge from the Asia-Pacific region. Meanwhile, the Australian government is set to ask the World Trade Organization to establish a dispute-settlement panel to resolve concerns about anti-dumping and countervailing duties imposed on Australian barley by China as the bilateral relationship continues to see its share of tensions.

Domestically, hopes continue that economic growth will be boosted through this year and beyond. The OECD’s Australia May 2021 Economic Snapshot projected GDP to grow by 5.1 percent in 2021 and 3.4 percent in 2022, driven by domestic demand amid high confidence and strong labor demand and other supporting trends. Meanwhile, Department of Home Affairs Secretary Mike Pezzullo told a Senate hearing that he hoped the key Security Legislation Amendment (Critical Infrastructure) Bill 2020 would pass in Parliament in June and take effect July 1, with the legislation set to impose several measures including mandatory cyber incident reporting for certain critical infrastructure assets and greater cybersecurity obligations on a subset of assets deemed “systems of national significance.”

BGA’s Australia team will continue to keep you updated on developments at home and abroad as they occur and assess the implications for companies and other stakeholders.