tip off

Crikey says: currency deal a boon for bankers

The PM is in China — Crikey is with her. And from Cambodia, the race to finish the Khmer Rouge trials. Fact check: Australia is the world’s best place to invest in mining. A Fairfax journo hits out at masthead creep. Dirty politics in Labor preselection battle. And questions to Malcolm Turnbull on broadband.

There was Julia Gillard in Shanghai this morning, flanked by Westpac chief Gail Kelly and ANZ CEO Mike Smith with broad smiles on their faces. The PM had an announcement, and the bankers were thrilled.

It certainly put a different spin on all that criticism business leaders have long had of the federal government.

Business will now be able to directly trade Australian and Chinese currencies under an agreement struck by the government. Instead of the costly process of converting into US dollars or Japanese yen first, our Australian dollars can be swapped directly — only the third country to have the privilege. It’s a big cost saving in our most important market.

And it’s meat on the bones of Gillard’s so-called Asia century. Real red-tape reduction, not just rhetoric.

We await the praise from business bosses everywhere, who know for all the apparent knocks and economic uncertainty this government stands accused of delivering, a deal like this will really count.


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