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Islamic finance crucial for Australia: Crean
Monday, 15 February 2010 10:00am

The $1 trillion Islamic finance market is a crucial part of the Australian Government's strategy to make Australia a financial hub in Asia Pacific, according to Simon Crean, minister for trade.

At the launch of the Government's booklet, Islamic Finance, Crean said Australia is well positioned to cater for the Islamic financing market, which has grown at 10 per cent per annum for a decade.

"Islamic financing is a booming sector and Australia should be part of the action," said Crean.

Islamic finance refers to the Islamic law or the Shariah, which prohibits the earning of interest for a focus on profit sharing based on the buying and selling of tangible assets.

This development comes after Westpac launched its Special Interbank Placement for Islamic institutions, which will offer a short-term wholesale investment structure for Islamic institutions based on the buying and selling of commodities.

"The continued growth in major Asian economies will create a need for resources-related services and infrastructure, which are ideal assets for forms of Islamic financing," said Crean.

The Johnson Review found some 365,000 Muslims live in Australia and would use Islamic financial services if they were more accessible.

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