MEDIA RELEASE

DEPARTMENT OF FOREIGN AFFAIRS AND TRADE
AUSTRALIA

D22

8 October 1999

TEXT OF OECD NEWS RELEASE:

OECD Secretary-General Donald J. Johnston to Visit Australia


At the invitation of the Australian government, OECD Secretary-General Donald J. Johnston will visit Canberra from 13 to 16 October 1999. He will meet Australian government ministers and senior officials focusing on OECD activities for discussions on a range of issues relevant to the Australian government's policy priorities.

Mr. Johnston's visit to Australia, his first since 1996, comes against the background of Australia's continuing strong economic performance, despite the negative repercussions of the crises that have affected Asian and other financial markets in the last two years. Australian economic policies, combining a stable macroeconomic stance with on-going microeconomic reforms, have won good marks in recent reports by OECD economists.

"Australia's policy settings and sound institutional framework have enabled it to withstand the worst effects of the Asian crisis, even though the Australian economy is substantially integrated with Asia," Mr. Johnston commented. "Australia's performance is an example for other countries, demonstrating that it is possible to continue opening markets and benchmarking performance against OECD best practice even in the face of severe adverse external shocks."

Among various topics, Mr. Johnston will be discussing prospects for a new round of multilateral trade negotiations and the OECD's role in supporting those negotiations, notably in preparing analytical and factual data of use to all parties in a new trade round. He will also review the OECD's growing role in Asia, as well as OECD projects in which the Australian government has a particular interest, such as the OECD's Jobs Study, regulatory reform, corporate governance, and the respective roles of government, the private sector and the OECD in the management of new technologies such as electronic commerce and biotechnology.

During his stay in Australia Mr Johnston will meet a broad range of ministers and senior officials. These are expected to include the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Transport, Mr. John Anderson; the Treasurer, Mr. Peter Costello; the Minister for Trade, Mr. Mark Vaile; the Minister for Foreign Affairs, Mr. Alexander Downer; the Minister for the Environment, Senator Robert Hill; the Minister for Employment, Workplace Relations and Small Business, Mr. Peter Reith; the Minister for Family and Community Services, Senator Jocelyn Newman; the Minister for Education, Training and Youth Affairs, Dr. David Kemp; the Minister for Industry, Science and Resources, Senator Nick Minchin; and the Governor of the Reserve Bank of Australia, Mr. Ian Macfarlane.

FOR INTERVIEWS IN AUSTRALIA: Please contact Martin Quinn, OECD Section DFAT - (02) 6261 2989 or 0416 261 009 (during visit only). martin.quinn@dfat.gov.au