With Treasurer Scott Morrison
With Foreign Affairs Ministers Julie Bishop
With Regional Development, Territories and Local Government Minister John Mc Veigh
DBM Secretary Benjamin Diokno met a number of Australia’s top Ministers, including Treasurer Scott Morrison, Foreign Affairs Minister Julie Bishop, and Regional Development and Local Government Minister John McVeigh, and Department Secretaries John Fraser of the Treasury Department and Michael Pezzullo of Home Affairs, during his participation in the Special Visit Program to Australia last May 20-27, 2018.
Secretary Diokno discussed with Treasurer Morrison the Philippines’ growth outlook and the Comprehensive Tax Reform Program (CTRP). Treasurer Morrison congratulated Secretary Diokno on the passage of the Package 1 of TRAIN law. He shared that Australia is also in the process of reforming their tax system. Like the Philippines with Package 2 of the CTRP, Australia seeks to lower Corporate Income Tax from 30% to 25% to become more globally-competitive.
Secretary Diokno also met with high-level budget officials, Finance Department Deputy Secretary David Fredericks and First Assistant Secretary Amanda Lee, who shared with the Philippines’ budget chief their most important budget policies and reforms. Secretary Diokno thanked the officials for the assistance of the Australian Government in Public Financial Management (PFM) Reform in the Philippines. He shared that, many of the reforms they have introduced, are now being implemented and will soon be institutionalized through the legislation of the Budget Reform Bill.
Meanwhile, Regional Development and Local Government Minister John McVeigh shared with Secretary Diokno how subnational governments, States and Territories, were financed by the Federal (National) Government of Australia. The topic was discussed further during Secretary Diokno’s meeting with the Treasurer of the state of South Australia, Rob Lucas.
Treasurer Lucas explained that state revenues only provide about half of what States spend each year, with the other half being being accounted for by the Goods and Services Tax (GST) collected by the Federal Government from the States. A Grants Commission redistributes the GST revenue in accordance with the Horizontal Fiscal Equalisation (HFE), which is meant to give States equal capacity to provide services.
Secretary Diokno made the stop to the Adelaide to give economic and fiscal policy briefings to the business community of South Australia through the CMU Distinguished Speaker Series, a forum in partnership with the Center for Economic Development of Australia and the Australia-Davos Connection Boardroom Briefing.
After the Adelaide leg of the trip, Secretary Diokno returned to Canberra to resume meetings with high-level government officials of Australia and to give the keynote address, “Structural Reforms to Support Strong, Sustainable Growth with Equity”, at the Philippine Update Conference 2018 Australia National University.
Secretary Diokno’s return to Canberra allowed him the opportunity to meet Secretary John Fraser of the Treasury Department, Secretary Michael Pezzullo of Home Affairs Department, and Nina Davidson, Head of the Productivity Commission . These high-level government officials discussed extensively their respective portfolios with the Budget Chief.
Finally, Secretary Diokno met with Foreign Affairs Minister Julie Bishop, whom he shared with the progress of the “Build, Build, Build” infrastructure program. The Budget Chief thanked Minister Bishop for the assistance of the Australian Government to the Philippines in PFM. He credits this assistance as one of the reasons why infrastructure spending has been kept on track as of recent. The meeting closed with both parties affirming the good, long-standing relationship between Philippines and Australia.
Secretary Diokno also met with Filipino students for every leg of the Australia trip. He met with Filipino students enrolled at Carnegie Mellon University, Australia National University, and, at various Universities in the Australian State of New South Wales, including University of Sydney, University of New South Wales, and University of Technology Sydney.
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