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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2008 Week 4 Hansard (8 April) . . Page.. 1102..

MR STANHOPE (continuing):

We have taken that moderation in demand into account in the decisions that we take, most particularly through our budget—a budget which I look forward very much to delivering in just on four weeks. As a result of the hard work and efficiencies that we have created, generated and pursued in our management of this economy—a management that has produced the strongest balance sheet that the ACT has ever experienced—we have a genuine capacity to respond to issues which the ACT economy faces. I look forward very much to revealing that strategy when I deliver the budget in a few weeks time.

MR SPEAKER: Mr Stefaniak?

MR STEFANIAK: Chief Minister, what will you do to ameliorate this moderation in demand in the ACT?

MR STANHOPE: The ACT government has a detailed strategy for dealing with all aspects of service delivery and the management of the ACT economy. We have the strongest balance sheet and the strongest economy, and the most significant and sustainable anticipated surplus and cash position that any ACT government has ever been able to achieve, as a result of our hard work and our management of the economy. That will be reflected in our budget in a few weeks time. And I am sure you are going to love it.

Economy—business confidence

MRS BURKE: My question is to the Chief Minister and Treasurer. I refer to the February 2008 Sensis business index for small and medium enterprises. This report showed a marked decline in the confidence of ACT small businesses from 55 per cent in November 2007 to 44 per cent in February 2008. How do you explain this decline in business confidence in the ACT?

MR STANHOPE: That decline in business confidence in the ACT is reflected in the mismanagement of the national economy by the Liberal Party. It is a direct result of the mismanagement—

Mrs Burke: Not your poor leadership and management?

MR STANHOPE: It is a direct and identifiable link. The entire business community will tell you that, to the extent to which they have concerns or anxieties at the moment, they are a result of the implications for the national economy and the ACT economy of eight successive interest rate rises over the last three years.

The fact is that an average Canberra family—young families, working families: this is an average Canberra family—is spending an additional $370 a month on its mortgage. That is $370 a month that it is not spending in the shops. It is $370 a month that it is not spending in restaurants. It is $370 a month it is not spending buying clothes or books. It is $370 a month it is not spending on recreation. It is $370 a month, courtesy of the Liberal Party, that goes straight into their mortgage. An average mortgage for a young Canberra family will now, over the life of that mortgage, cost an additional $110,000 as a result of the Liberal Party. Businesses in the ACT—

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