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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2002 Week 10 Hansard (27 August) . . Page.. 2831..


Mrs Dunne: It is just daft.

MR QUINLAN: How do you make it simple? We have to build a remand centre. We do not necessarily have to build a prison. A remand centre is a decision of necessity. The prison is a decision that must justify itself economically. End of story.

MRS DUNNE: Minister, do you consider it appropriate that you spend at least $50 million but, on the basis of Rengain's summation, possibly $61 million on a new remand centre, when the only analysis that has been done shows it as the worst possible economic option?

MR QUINLAN: Quite clearly, logic does not work over there. If all Rengain said holds true under testing, then you might be hot on the trail of a possible decision by the government that in fact the jail is justified. But I insist that those numbers you are throwing about be tested. That is all.

Mrs Dunne: But you have not tested them.

MR QUINLAN: We are testing them.

Employment

MR HARGREAVES: My question is directed to the Treasurer. Treasurer, could you relay to members the recent changes in the level of employment in the territory?

MR QUINLAN: It is a timely question you ask, Mr Hargreaves, because we have not seen the Humphries' press release this month headed "All under threat" or "Labor's inaction starts to tell". Can I advise the Assembly that the latest unemployment figures for the ACT set the unemployment rate in the ACT at 3.5 per cent, down from 4.6 per cent, which was up from 4.2 per cent.

Mr Humphries: How do we know?

MR QUINLAN: ABS.

Mr Humphries: Is that the published figure or the figures that have gone to you privately? We have not seen it.

MR QUINLAN: Sorry, these are the ACT Department of Treasury finance and investment group figures. These figures indicate that the unemployment rate in the ACT is down to 3.5 per cent. More importantly, we have a participation rate that is increasing in percentages and increasing in absolute numbers.

Mrs Dunne: What methodology do they use?

MR QUINLAN: And when will they be out? I can also advise that the total employment rate for women and the participation rate for women have increased. The unemployment rate for youth and the participation rate for youth are both positive changes.

Mr Humphries: Can we see these figures?


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