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Economic Roundup Issue 1, 2011


Issue 1, 2011 of the Treasury Economic Roundup contains two recent speeches by members of Treasury's Executive Board, articles prepared by Treasury staff, and a speech given to Treasury staff.

The first speech was delivered by Dr Ken Henry AC, formerly Secretary to the Treasury; The Australian banking system — challenges in the post global financial crisis environment to the Australasian Finance and Banking Conference on 15 December 2010. The second speech was delivered by Dr David Gruen, Executive Director (Domestic), Macroeconomic Group, who presented a speech entitled Economic and financial trends and globalisation over the next 15 years to the Scenario Development Forum for Skills Australia, on 7 February 2011. The third speech was delivered by Victorian Justice, Tony Pagone, entitled Some problems in legislating for economic concepts to Treasury staff on 2 December 2010.

The first article looks at Commodity price volatility. The article examines the issue of high and volatile commodity prices, which have re-emerged as a global issue. The article concludes that recent volatility is not without historical precedent, with similar levels of nominal commodity price volatility having been observed numerous times in the post war period.

A regular report summarising the outcomes of Treasury's Business Liaison Program is also included. Treasury staff held discussions with businesses and industry associations during February 2011. The report outlines the key themes that arose in these discussions.

The final article is the sixteenth in a series of biographies of Australia's Federal treasurers. Achieving the distinction of being Australia's longest serving prime minister, Sir Robert Menzies also served as treasurer for almost a year at the start of World War II.