Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2008 Week 2 Hansard (6 March) . . Page.. 610..
MR STANHOPE (continuing):
In relation to state final demand, it has come off as a result of a record year of construction activity. About a third of state final demand in the territory is driven by private sector investment. In the last year, we hit a height in relation to private sector investment never before achieved in the history of the Australian Capital Territory. That is unsustainable, particularly with a full labour force.
When you have more vacancies than you have people to fill them, you cannot keep going faster than top speed. You cannot when your economy is travelling as fast as it can travel. You cannot keep accelerating off the front. You cannot do it. You cannot do it, particularly in an Australian labour market where there are more vacancies. It is the major inhibitor. There is no doubt about it. The most significant inhibitor to further economic growth in the territory, over and above the remarkable levels we have achieved, is labour force issues: the number of vacancies, the skills and labour.
The fact is that you can only go so fast. We hit top speed; we achieved record outcomes in the year before last; and of course you cannot keep doing that. (Time expired.)
MS MacDONALD: My question is also to the Treasurer. An article in today's Canberra Times claims that the ACT has the worst performing economy in the country. Can you, as Treasurer and Chief Minister, advise the Assembly whether this is correct, and what the state of the territory's economy is.
MR STANHOPE: Thank you. Mr Speaker—
Mrs Dunne: On a point of order, Mr Speaker: is this question not fully answered, because he has already answered Mr Seselja's question on this?
MR STANHOPE: And I have barely started to answer it.
MR SPEAKER: Mrs Dunne, Ms MacDonald didn't ask the earlier question.
MR STANHOPE: The claim that we see reported today, and readily grasped by a desperate opposition, is, of course, false. It is quite clearly not the case. It is incorrect. It actually defies common sense. You have only to think about it for one second. You have only to look at what is going on outside these four walls. You have only to look at the level of unemployment. You have only to acknowledge the fact that there are more vacancies within the territory than there are people to fill those vacancies. You have only to look at the full range of indicators to understand that this is an economy performing as strongly, essentially, as any like economy in Australia—in other words, one that is not driven by the fact that it contains world-leading supplies of coal, iron ore, aluminium and a range of other commodities.
As I was indicating earlier, the number one indicator or driver of an economy is the labour market. It is the labour market that is the engine of any economy. It is the key driver of economic and social wellbeing. We can look, as I indicated earlier, at the