Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2013 Week 6 Hansard (8 May) . . Page.. 1723..
MADAM SPEAKER: A supplementary question, Mr Doszpot.
MR DOSZPOT: Minister, why do you believe Canberra families support non-government school education for their children in higher numbers per capita than any other jurisdiction in Australia?
MS BURCH: I thank Mr Doszpot for his question. He may have paid attention today to the fact that we released the school census data that shows that we have continued growth. We have two per cent growth in the public education system here in the ACT. We have 59.4 per cent of all students in the ACT sitting within the public school system. I think that reflects the investment that this government has put in place over the past decade in providing quality public education for Canberra families.
MADAM SPEAKER: Supplementary question, Mr Gentleman.
MR GENTLEMAN: Minister, how important is it to work with the community and unions in developing new schools policy?
MS BURCH: I thank Mr Gentleman for his interest in this. It is quite clear, and I think both sides of the chamber this morning, whilst we disagreed on a number of things, agreed that the ACT has a good quality education system. The public system is of high quality, a high performance sector. So is the Catholic and independent network an important part of our system. In that, it is important that we work with the unions—whether it is the independent teachers union or the public education union, whether it is the non-government councils or whether it is the Catholic system—it is making sure that families here in Canberra get offered and provided with quality education and that they are provided with choice.
DR BOURKE: My question is to the Minister for Economic Development. Minister, can you advise the Assembly on the release of any recent economic data and what the implications are for the ACT economy?
Opposition members interjecting—
MR BARR: I thank Dr Bourke for the question and the opposition for their interest in the territory economy. It is refreshing to see such interest. I can advise the Assembly that recent data on the ACT economy shows an economy performing very well and certainly, when compared with other non-mining jurisdictions in Australia, the territory economy in the last 12 months has performed very well. Our seasonally adjusted state final demand is up by 3.4 per cent and that is behind only the mining states of Western Australia and the Northern Territory.
Our labour market compares favourably with other jurisdictions. We recorded the equal second lowest trend unemployment rate of 4.5 per cent—that was equal with Western Australia and marginally behind the Northern Territory—in March this year but, of course, well below the national average of 5.6 per cent. We have maintained