Go to:

John Key

20 August, 2009


Prime Ministers Kevin Rudd and John Key held their fourth bilateral meeting in Canberra on 20 August 2009 during Prime Minister Key’s official visit to Australia.

The Prime Ministers agreed on the imperative for continued strong and coordinated international action to restore confidence and global economic growth.  They recognised that strengthened trans-Tasman economic integration, including through the Single Economic Market work program, would be vital for both countries.  They recognised it would enhance the ability of Australia and New Zealand to weather the current global recession, increase national productivity, maintain and drive job creation, foster international competitiveness and improve the environment for doing business on both sides of the Tasman.

The Prime Ministers agreed to a joint statement of intent to give new intensity and a renewed focus to delivering the practical benefits and outcomes from the Single Economic Market.  This work will be guided by key principles designed to deliver more quickly and effectively the benefits of seamless trans-Tasman economy to consumers and businesses in both countries.  The joint statement also lists practical concrete outcomes on economic regulatory matters, including business law and competition policy, that they would like to achieve.  A copy of the Joint Statement of Intent is attached.
The Prime Ministers also agreed to a joint plan to streamline trans-Tasman travel, with improvements to be seen as early as next year.  The plan includes roll out of the automated SmartGate passenger clearance system in New Zealand, and improvements to screening and processing for low risk passengers on both sides of the Tasman.  They also agreed to trials of direct exit paths for passengers and the transfer between Australia and New Zealand of x-ray images for more efficient biosecurity screening.   To foster long-term improvements, Australia and New Zealand will explore further streamlining passenger processing through studies on pre-clearing passengers at point of departure and through expanding and integrating SmartGate systems.

The Prime Ministers also endorsed a new Development Coordination Partnership, which takes an important first step towards implementing the Cairns Compact for Strengthened Development Coordination in the Pacific, agreed at the Pacific Islands Forum Leaders’ Meeting in Cairns on 6 August.  The Partnership pledges new efforts by Australia and New Zealand to integrate development assistance activities in order to lift the effectiveness of aid programs and make improved progress towards the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals in the Pacific.   The Partnership builds on the recommendations of the joint report, released at the Cairns Pacific Islands Forum, about the impact of the global recession on the Pacific.  The Prime Ministers also welcomed the launch by Pacific leaders of PACER Plus negotiations. A copy of the major themes is attached.
Recalling the commitment that they had made in March to strengthen economic integration and cooperation, the two Prime Ministers welcomed the considerable progress made in the preceding five months including:

  • substantial progress in concluding a CER Investment Protocol aimed at promoting further cross-Tasman investment, and reaffirmed their commitment to concluding this agreement by the end of 2009, including today agreement on the screening thresholds, which will be AUD$953 million for New Zealand investments in Australia and NZD$477 million for Australian investments in New Zealand, half of the Australian threshold;

  • an amended Australia-New Zealand Joint Food Standards Treaty on which stakeholders will be consulted in September;

  • updated economic agreements to facilitate closer business links including a revised Double Taxation Agreement and the conclusion of a new scheme enabling Australian and New Zealand workers to move pension funds across the Tasman;

  • continued close collaboration on international and regional trade policy, including with a view to the swift conclusion of the Doha Development round of negotiations at the WTO;

  • new joint trade promotion activities to increase global market shares for the Trans-Tasman economy, particularly in the Asian region, including through AANZFTA;

  • Australian – New Zealand collaboration in flagship initiatives including agreement to a joint bid to host the Square Kilometre Array Radio Telescope Project;

  • collaboration on other science/innovation initiatives including the Global Carbon Capture and Storage Institute, and new research to reduce agriculture emissions; and

  • New Zealand’s participation in the Business Regulation and Competition Working Group of the Council of Australian Governments, in order to share ideas on economic and regulatory reform.

The Prime Ministers agreed that in addition to the implementation of the Single Economic Market and Development Coordination Partnership, both governments would bring sustained focus to making new progress in:

  • further streamlining of trans-Tasman travel, working towards full implementation of a new trans-Tasman passenger clearance model; and work on streamlining trans-Tasman goods trade;

  • exploring whether the Trans-Tasman Outcomes Framework could be applied to other areas of the SEM;

  • cooperation between the Australian Productivity Commission and any future New Zealand Productivity Commission;

  • exploring implications for the trans-Tasman economy from changes to tax regimes in Australia and/or New Zealand, noting New Zealand’s strong interest in the mutual recognition of imputation credits;

  • continuing collaboration on the design, implementation and linking of emissions trading schemes and ensuring harmonisation where it would be of benefit, and working together to contribute to the development of the global carbon market.  Both countries will continue working together towards an ambitious post-2012 international climate change framework that sets the world on a path to limit the increase on global average temperature to 2 degrees Celsius or less.  Prime Ministers noted that emissions from agriculture are a significant issue for both countries and agreed on the value of continued collaboration on mitigation approaches; and

  • ongoing close defence relations to promote common regional security objectives, including exploring possible opportunities to enhance our joint operational capabilities reinvigorating the ANZAC spirit.

The Prime Ministers agreed on the need for substantial progress on all of these areas for the remainder of the year.  They agreed to take stock when next they met early in 2010.  The two Prime Ministers also noted that they will meet with Ministerial colleagues the following day in the inaugural joint Cabinet meeting between the two countries.


We, the Prime Ministers of Australia and New Zealand, signalled last March that we are committed to accelerating regulatory harmonisation and alignment in order to stimulate business and create jobs.

To that end, we have agreed on a framework of principles and a range of shared medium term practical outcomes for developing cross border economic initiatives.

The outcomes framework supports an aspirational Single Economic Market (SEM) agenda, and will in the short-term drive pragmatic initiatives and set clear timelines for the work programme.  A key element within the framework is a deliberate move from consideration purely of national benefits in policy development, to consideration of the net trans-Tasman benefit.

The outcomes we seek to achieve complement and build on the extensive work already underway under the SEM. They will accelerate and deepen trans-Tasman regulatory integration as part of a broader SEM.

The outcomes framework articulates the goals we seek to achieve in specific areas while keeping open the range of options for achieving these outcomes.  These options need not necessarily involve harmonisation of law or the creation of joint institutions but may take other pragmatic approaches.

We have agreed the principles to guide the identification and analysis of options to achieve the agreed outcomes.

These principles are:

  • Persons in Australia or New Zealand should not have to engage in the same process or provide the same information twice.

  • Measures should deliver substantively the same regulatory outcomes in both countries in the most efficient manner.

  • Regulated occupations should be able to operate seamlessly between each country.

  • Both Governments should seek to achieve economies of scale and scope in regulatory design and implementation.

  • Products and services supplied in one jurisdiction should be able to be supplied in the other.

  • The two countries should seek to strengthen joint capability to influence international policy design.

  • Outcomes should seek to optimise net Trans-Tasman benefit.

We have already identified a range of shared outcomes in the areas of insolvency law, financial reporting policy, financial services policy, competition policy, business reporting, corporations law, personal property securities law, intellectual property law, and consumer policy. The Australian Treasury and the New Zealand Ministry of Economic Development will make available electronically copies of this shared list of outcomes.

We will establish a joint Trans-Tasman outcomes implementation group comprising senior officials from relevant agencies to carry this agenda forward.  The implementation group will be jointly chaired by the Australian Treasury and the New Zealand Ministry of Economic Development and will report regularly to our respective Governments.

This outcomes framework represents the next phase in a substantive and long term commitment by our two countries to remove the barriers that stand in the way of our aspiration of an SEM. 

The full text of the work program is available at www.treasury.gov.au and www.med.govt.nz


Australia and New Zealand commit to a new Partnership for Development Cooperation to further integrate the delivery of our development cooperation in the Pacific and make a real difference to the lives of the 2.7 million people living in poverty by promoting sustainable economic development and achievement of the Millennium Development Goals in the region.  The Partnership marks a significant first step in implementing the Cairns Compact on Strengthening Development Coordination, which regional leaders endorsed at last week’s Pacific Islands Forum. 

The Partnership is founded on the common values we share, including as neighbours in the Pacific, and members of the Pacific Islands Forum.  Through this Partnership, Australia and New Zealand reaffirm their commitment to working with our neighbours to build a more secure, equitable and prosperous Pacific region.  The Partnership is founded on:

  • A shared vision, including the achievement of real progress against the Millennium Development Goals through implementation of the Cairns Compact;

  • A common strategic direction, based on core aspirations such as promoting broad-based, private sector-led growth to achieve faster development progress;

  • Agreed principles, including the use of partnerships based on mutual respect and mutual agreement; and

  • Practical action to integrate our efforts through expanded joint sector programmes, combined assessments and monitoring work; and delegated delivery of assistance to each other.

This Partnership reflects the clear vision for the future of development cooperation in the Pacific as set out in the Cairns Compact on Strengthening Development Coordination.  The Compact calls for new, practical efforts by Pacific island countries and their development partners to work together to improve the effectiveness of development resources, thereby delivering better livelihoods for all Pacific peoples.  As Pacific Islands Forum members and key donors to the region, Australia and New Zealand have an important responsibility for improving the quality and impact of development assistance.  We need to lead by example in implementing the Cairns Compact, and advancing its core principles.  We call on other development partners to join us in these efforts.
Although endowed with rich and diverse human and natural resources, the Pacific region faces significant challenges.  Australia and New Zealand have complementary approaches to development in the Pacific, with a focus on results, mutual accountability and the alignment of development resources with individual country priorities.  Australia and New Zealand will use this Partnership to deepen our development cooperation, enabling us to assist more effectively Pacific island countries achieve broad-based economic growth, build sustainable livelihoods, enhance governance and accelerate progress towards the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals.

The full text of the Partnership is available at www.ausaid.gov.au and www.nzaid.govt.nz

To comment, click here

  • John Key
  • Prime Minister