Business leaders lobby for $57 trillion infrastructure boost

Business leaders are to urge the governments of the world’s largest economies to make an extra $57 trillion available for infrastructure schemes over the next five years. 

The business people, who are holding a summit of the Business 20 (B20) group in Sydney this week, will say that this money can be made available partly by improving companies’ access to capital and reducing the burden of financial regulation they must meet. 

The B20 is a body that was formed to make policy recommendations to the G20. In this case, it is addressing the issues raised by the G20 during its February meeting in the Australian capital, during which it discussed ways of raising global GDP growth 2% above the rate it would otherwise achieve.

The B20 Australia Summit opened in Sydney today

Richard Goyder, the chair of the B20 and chief executive of Australian retail conglomerate Wesfarmers, told reporters: "We think that’s one of the most important decisions made at G20 meetings in the past few years."

The B20 is to argue that $57 trillion is a conservative estimate of the amount needed to reach the 2% target. 

The lack of capital for infrastructure investment is one of four areas identified by the B20. The other three are stabilising growth, cutting unemployment and increasing overall investment and trade.

Joe Hockey, the B20’s Australian treasurer, commented that the move towards boosting global growth was too slow: "Some countries like China and increasingly Germany have been very supportive of our goals, but there’s more to be done," he said.

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