Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2007 Week 11 Hansard (15 November) . . Page.. 3467..
MR STANHOPE (Ginninderra—Chief Minister, Treasurer, Minister for Business and Economic Development, Minister for Indigenous Affairs, Minister for the Environment, Water and Climate Change, Minister for the Arts) (3.29): I seek leave to make a ministerial statement concerning the Canberra plan.
MR STANHOPE: Before making the statement, I should say that the government would be prepared to give leave to the Leader of the Opposition to apologise to all working mothers in the Australian Capital Territory, or, indeed, to the shadow minister for health to similarly apologise.
MADAM TEMPORARY DEPUTY SPEAKER (Mrs Dunne): Order! Mr Stanhope, you have leave to make a statement.
MR STANHOPE: I am generously offering to give leave to the Leader of the Opposition to apologise to all working women. I am simply making that clear.
MADAM TEMPORARY DEPUTY SPEAKER: Mr Stanhope, you have leave to make a statement. Would you proceed with the statement.
MR STANHOPE: Thank you, Madam Temporary Deputy Speaker. The offer is there if the Leader of the Opposition wishes to take it.
MADAM TEMPORARY DEPUTY SPEAKER: You are being too repetitive. I will sit you down, Mr Stanhope, if you do not proceed with the statement.
MR STANHOPE: Madam Temporary Deputy Speaker, it gives me great pleasure to provide the members of the Assembly, and, indeed, the broader community, with an update on the government's progress with achieving the goals of the Canberra plan. Three and a half years ago, I launched the Canberra plan, a document that is not simply a plan but a vision for our future; a vision that will see Canberra as representing the very best in Australian creativity, community living and sustainable development.
Before we review the progress in achieving the aims underpinning these themes, I believe it is imperative to examine the demographics of Canberra in 2004 in contrast to the demographics of our community today. In 2004, the year in which the government launched the Canberra plan, Canberra had an estimated population of 322,900. Our population was growing relatively slowly at a rate of 0.8 per cent per year since 1998 compared with 1.2 per cent growth in Australia overall.
At the time of the plan's launch, average weekly earnings for full-time employed people in the ACT were $978 compared with the national level of $873. In that year, the ACT had the nation's lowest unemployment rate, averaging 4.4 per cent compared with 6.5 per cent nationally. At that time, approximately 1,300 Canberrans were long-term unemployed or out of work for 12 months or more. Our life expectancy, at