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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2010 Week 14 Hansard (7 December) . . Page.. 5829..


somebody who is well experienced in youth detention, who has got 20 years experience. He will be out there each week working alongside the youth workers, working alongside management, to make sure that the practices and the protocols and the way we approach how we better deal with the residents at Bimberi and give them a better outcome is the way forward.

Employment—labour market

MR HARGREAVES: Mr Speaker, my question, through you, is to the Treasurer. Can the Treasurer please advise the Assembly of the state of the ACT labour market?

MS GALLAGHER: I thank Mr Hargreaves for the question. It is very positive news for the ACT to have the lowest unemployment rate in the country, at three per cent, following what is now clearly the peak of unemployment at 3.7 per cent in December 2009. The number of unemployed persons in trend terms decreased by 100 in the month and, year on year, to October 2010 ACT employment increased by 2.6 per cent, compared to an increase of 2.3 per cent nationally.

Encouragingly, and I know Mr Smyth will be very pleased with this, the private sector enjoyed a 5.1 per cent increase in employment through the year to the August quarter 2010. Public sector employment also recorded an increase, not in the same order but of 1.8 per cent over the same period. As at August 2010, private sector employment accounted for 53 per cent of employment and the remaining 47 per cent were employed in the public sector.

The main industries to record significant employment growth in the August quarter were the wholesale trade, financial and insurance services, construction, electricity, gas, water and waste service sectors. Over the past 12 months, electricity, gas, waste, water, manufacturing, retail trade, rental hiring, real estate services and administration and support industries were the main sectors to experience strong employment growth. For the 11th consecutive month, trend employment in the ACT is higher than its level a year ago and, for the 13th consecutive month, trend full-time employment in the ACT is higher than the level a year ago.

Compared to other jurisdictions, the ACT continues to record a relatively high participation rate and, as I said before, the lowest unemployment rate in the country. Our participation rate in trend terms is the second highest of the jurisdictions, at 72.8 per cent, which is 7.1 percentage points above the national rate of 65.7 per cent. And I think that does reflect increasing positive sentiment around the economy.

We have also seen increases in the number of newspaper job ads in the ACT and, for the second consecutive month, in November 2010, job ads remain above levels a year ago and well above the trough experienced in June 2009. And I think what this does, again, is to validate the approach the ACT government has taken to ensure the strength of our economy through our own investments and our own budget recovery strategy. We did recognise the need to invest more. We did want to see our capital spend increase. And we have seen just that over the last 18 months.

We have also taken the view that a longer term recovery is in the broader economy's interest in relation to our own budget plan, and our budget plan remains on track. But


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