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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2009 Week 12 Hansard (13 October) . . Page.. 4350..


MS PORTER: Thank you, Mr Speaker. Treasurer, you mentioned Standard & Poor's credit report. Can you provide further information on what the Standard & Poor's report suggests about the territory's prospects?

MS GALLAGHER: I am very pleased to report that not only has the credit rating agency affirmed the ACT's credit rating in that highest level; importantly, it has also rated the ACT's outlook as stable. In the context of a year on from the emergence of a global financial crisis and the continuing degree of economic uncertainty worldwide, for the territory to have retained the highest possible rating is not an insignificant feat. This is good news for the territory's economy as it provides a degree of confidence to business and the community.

However, we are aware that there is still much more that needs to be done. The credit rating agency has acknowledged the government's prudent financial management; Mr Smyth would have hated that. Its publicly available research update states:

The stable outlook for the ACT reflects our expectation that the ACT government will remain committed to strengthening in its operating position.

The report also states that the government's history of prudent budgeting leaves us confident that liabilities will be contained.

It is reasonable to expect that, one year on from the emergence of the global financial crisis, credit rating agencies such as Standard & Poor's are likely to be particularly frank and risk averse in their assessment. In this most challenging financial and economic environment, the government has earned objective confirmation of its past, current and continuing commitment to the prudent financial and economic management of the territory. There is more work to be done. There are significant risks facing the ACT budget, some of which we have discussed in question time today, but we remain flexible with our long-term plan to recover the ACT's budget over a seven-year period; that we have enough time to do this and maintain essential services and infrastructure to the ACT community.

MR SPEAKER: Mr Smyth, a supplementary?

MR SMYTH: Treasurer, as a result of the global financial crisis, how many jobs have been lost in the ACT and how much revenue has the ACT government lost?

Mr Stanhope: On a point of order, Mr Speaker: that supplementary question was not relevant to the question asked.

MR SPEAKER: There is no point of order. I think the question was quite a broad one about the state of the ACT economy, and Mr Smyth's question falls within that.

MS GALLAGHER: The unemployment rate, I think, at its lowest point before it started increasing was 21/2 per cent. It has risen to 3.5 per cent, I think, in the order of 6,000. It did go higher than that but it has been revised downwards in recent updates from the ABS.


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