Federal Treasurer Joe Hockey says the G20 meeting could reveal just how close the group are to boosting global growth by two per cent.

Treasurer Joe Hockey is hopeful that within days the G20 will be able to show how close they are to reaching their goal of lifting global growth by a further two per cent.

Finance ministers and central bankers from the world’s largest economies will meet in Cairns this weekend.

At their meeting in February in Sydney, the first under Australia’s 2014 presidency, Mr Hockey struck a historic deal with his counterparts that set a target of two per cent growth above current projections, over the next five years.

Mr Hockey says it could be revealed as early as this week just how close the group are to reaching the goal.

“I’m hoping that we’ll be able to indicate at the end of the meeting on Sunday exactly how far we’ve come in relation to the two per cent goal,” he told reporters.

“I’m also hoping that we will renew our efforts over the next few weeks prior to the leaders’ summit to get to the two per cent – we’re not there.”

The finance meeting will precede the G20 Leaders’ Forum in Brisbane in November.

Mr Hockey didn’t say what he expected in terms of progress, but said there was no easy solution to reaching the ambitious target, which would add an extra $2 trillion and 20,000 jobs to the global economy by 2018.

Conference delegates plan to discuss proposals by the global Financial Stability Board aimed at protecting taxpayers when large banks fail.

The delegates, who represent 85 per cent of world economic output, will also discuss jobs, growth and ways to ensure multinational companies pay their fair share of taxes.

The treasurer confirmed that Russia’s deputy finance minister would attend the finance ministers’ meeting.

During his speech at a James Cook University conference Mr Hockey reflected on a sense of pessimism about the Global Financial Crisis when Australia took on the G20 presidency earlier this year.

“Pessimism about the failure of the global economy to recover faster than one would have expected after such a severe downturn…”

He also said the incredible gyrations of the global financial crisis had led to a level of exhaustion among finance ministers and central bank governors.

The treasurer said he’d agreed with other finance ministers privately and publicly to “focus on the glass being half full.

“We had to change the dialogue, move it away from the traditional dialogue of more regulation and higher taxes to get into a focus on more growth and more jobs.”

A group of about 70 protesters rallied against proposed cuts to higher education outside the conference.

Although there was a large police and security presence, those who joined in did so peacefully and there were no reports of arrests.

An extra 800 police officers are patrolling Cairns and they have additional powers under the G20 Safety and Security Act within an area that runs from the airport to the central city.

Mr Hockey plans to attend a state and territory treasurers’ meeting in Cairns on Friday to discuss tax distribution, infrastructure and the commonwealth’s so-called asset recycling scheme.