Joe was Australia’s first Minister for Financial Services and Regulation in 1998. This was a new section of the Australian Treasury.
He was responsible for the entire financial services industry in Australia which made up nearly ten percent of the economy.
The portfolio covered financial regulation, consumer affairs, markets, banking and included prudential supervision of all financial institutions including superannuation. The Minister was responsible for implementing major reforms including Corporate Law Economic Reform (CLERP), the Wallis Reforms of Banking and the implementation of tax reform including price supervision during the introduction of a Goods and Services Tax.
Major government institutions such as the Australian Securities and Investments Commission, the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission and the Australian Prudential Regulation Authority reported to the Minister.
In three years Joe delivered significant reforms in the financial services sector including CLERP, a restructure of the Takeovers Panel, the largest referral of power in modern Australian history for the Corporations Law, the abolition of cheques in Australia and the establishment of Sydney as a Global Financial Services Centre.
Based on the foundation reforms Joe helped to deliver, Australia’s robust and well managed financial services sector has continued to grow significantly despite the pressures of the Asian financial crisis and the Global Financial Crisis over the last few decades.