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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2008 Week 1 Hansard (13 February) . . Page.. 160..


MR STANHOPE (continuing):

the final report has been received by government, the government will, of course, be announcing additional measures to address this important issue.

MR GENTLEMAN: Mr Speaker, I have a supplementary question. Treasurer, what does the performance of the labour market suggest about the general strength of the ACT economy?

MR STANHOPE: The current strong demand for labour is a testament to the continuing strength of the territory's economy, but the strength of the economy is not just reflected in the labour market. The strength of the ACT economy is also illustrated by the high level of investment activity occurring in the territory. The value of new, non-dwelling construction undertaken in 2006-07 was $1.19 billion, the highest ever recorded—higher even than the level achieved during the construction of the new Parliament House 20 years ago.

State final demand, a measure of the total expenditure in the economy, grew by 4.5 per cent for the year ended September 2007. This growth rate is exceeded only by the mining boom states of Western Australia and Queensland.

Gross state product, a measure of total production, is also performing well, growing by five per cent, to be worth $21.6 billion, in 2006-07. The national equivalent, gross domestic product, by comparison, grew by 3.2 per cent. The ACT recorded the third highest rate of growth of GSP in 2006-07, again below only Western Australia and the Northern Territory—higher than Queensland—amongst Australian jurisdictions. The ACT also recorded a relatively strong growth rate in per capita GSP, equal second with the Northern Territory, behind only Western Australia.

The growth in the property market is also evident in the housing market. Housing finance for owner occupiers grew by 17.4 per cent year on year to November 2007, the highest rate of all jurisdictions and above the national growth rate of 2.6 per cent. Members will be aware that there are stresses in the current housing market. As I outlined yesterday, the ACT government, through its affordable housing action plan, is undertaking a number of measures, including significantly increasing land supply, to address this issue. In addition, the construction pipeline remains strong, with a number of large projects yet to commence. Business and investor confidence in the ACT remain very strong, with record auction prices achieved for commercial land.

These are good results. They reflect confidence and strength in our economy. This confidence and strength are a reflection of the government's prudent financial and economic management.

Finally, there has been some commentary in the media about the prospects for our economy, particularly in view of job cuts foreshadowed by the federal government. The ACT government understands the federal government's objective in undertaking their fiscal measures, which is to curtail inflationary pressures in the national economy allowed to grow by Howard, Costello and Humphries—in other words, the Liberal Party. The ACT government will monitor the impact of federal government decisions, as any government would do in relation to any labour force changes in its jurisdiction's largest employer. However, I conclude by noting that, with virtually full employment and continuing demand for labour, the ACT economy is well positioned


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