AUSTRALIA'S renowned economic leadership will continue to extend its global influence in years to come, the head of the International Monetary Fund says.
IMF Managing Director Christine Lagarde told the Global Foundation's Australian summit that the nation had always shown "real leadership" in the turbulent, ever-fluctuating global economy.
The past five years have put heavier financial stress on everyone and created a greater demand for expertise and innovative, collaborative thinking on economics, she told the Melbourne summit via video link from Washington on Thursday.
"The interconnectedness between us all has never been more obvious as during and post the financial crisis," Ms Lagarde said.
The crisis had created long-term economic pessimism in many countries, where people now believed "it used to be better and it will never be the same", she said.
Australia was critical in combating this attitude with its dependably strong, practical, positive and progressive leadership, she said.
"It's an economy that is used to cycles, booms and busts, and throughout those cycles, the Australian enterprises, the Australian people, always remain positive and committed to improving the state of the Australian economy, and participating in improving the world as it is," Ms Lagarde said.
The Global Foundation, an Australian-based, non-government collective of private sector heavyweights, will continue its two-day summit on Friday, on the theme of Australia in the Asian Century.
Key topics at an open forum on Friday will include greening, feeding and improving economic connections with Asia.