Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2008 Week 2 Hansard (6 March) . . Page.. 616..
MR STANHOPE (continuing):
I will just conclude on this point: the other aspect of the presentation by Professor Garnaut was that, whilst we accept the enormity of the challenge we face, because of the costs, expense and the resourcing which we as individuals, communities and governments are going to have to apply to this, we cannot afford at the outset as we anxiously move to deal with the situation we face to invest heavily in responses that are not going to produce optimal outcomes in terms of greenhouse gas reduction with the limited resources that are available, having regard to how extensive those resources are going to have to be.
Before we have progressed through this century we in this jurisdiction will spend billions of dollars in seeking to ameliorate and abate the impacts of climate change. We have, as a government, committed over the last two budgets more than $100 million to climate change. We have done it in the last two years, and we will do it again in this budget and in budget after budget after budget. Through this century we will spend billions of dollars on this issue. (Time expired.)
MR SMYTH: My question is also to the Treasurer. Chief Minister, yesterday the Australian Bureau of Statistics released the latest national accounts data. In your answer to the Leader of the Opposition, you said to "look at any other indicator". Let us look at another economic indicator. The data also showed that the ACT had the weakest performance in terms of private gross fixed capital formation of any jurisdiction. Private capital investment is essential to diversify and strengthen the ACT's economy. Treasurer, how do you explain the fact that gross private fixed capital formation has declined in each quarter for the past four quarters?
MR STANHOPE: In the ACT in recent years we have had absolutely unparalleled levels of growth. As I indicated just yesterday, the Australian Bureau of Statistics confirmed in its most recent series of reports on indicators and activity that in the last calendar year, I think, there was $5.3 billion of private investment in the ACT—the record year for investment within the Australian Capital Territory. In a whole range of areas of investment, there has been an unparalleled level of investment—record levels of investment. I have just responded to this, but the shadow Treasurer obviously was not listening.
Mr Smyth: So the bureau is wrong.
MR STANHOPE: He was not actually listening when I commented on just some of the private sector investment in housing—household investment. Over the last year, new housing finance commitments to December 2007 in the ACT increased by 15.7 per cent against a national average of 2.4 per cent. That is the level of private sector investment in the ACT economy. Residential building approvals increased by 10.8 per cent in the ACT compared to 2.8 per cent nationally. Building commencements are up by 8.2 per cent in the ACT compared to a national rate of 0.3 per cent. These are some of the indicators of the level of investment.
Mr Smyth: So why is gross private fixed capital declining?