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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2014 Week 4 Hansard (6 May) . . Page.. 1121..

The ACT government is committed to supporting sustained growth and development of the ACT economy. We will work with the region, businesses, institutions and the wider community to increase economic opportunity and activity.

Our business development strategy—growth, diversification and jobs—is helping the private sector to create jobs by providing targeted support, programs and funding to local businesses. The 2012-13 budget included $20 million for innovative programs to further boost our private sector. Initiatives include supporting early-stage business innovation, building new funding for clean technology and sustainability oriented companies and creating a program to act as a single portal for trade development activities. In addition, we are making it easier for business to move through the processes to set up or expand their operations here.

Prudent financial management, a commitment to reform, as well as investment in our people and technology, will create the right conditions to support business and consumer confidence in the local community and, therefore, create jobs. The ACT government is facilitating jobs growth in the territory by supporting a connected, technology-savvy city that takes advantage of our strong ICT skills, strengthening links with the surrounding region to drive better services, economic growth and opportunity, building on the groundbreaking tax reforms and achieving a sustainable financial future for the ACT, and supporting the development of emerging enterprises, entrepreneurs and sectors.

Such initiatives have allowed the ACT labour market to compare favourably to most other jurisdictions, with the ACT recording the lowest trend unemployment rate of 3.4 per cent and the second highest trend participation rate of 71.4 per cent in February 2014. The ACT's unemployment rate remained well below the national average of six per cent in February 2014.

This government has undertaken a reform of the ACT tax system, making it fairer, simpler and more efficient. This government has perhaps the most ambitious tax reform agenda in Australia. A nine per cent improvement in the efficiency of our tax base is expected by 2016-17—in other words, a yield of $57 million for our economy which is no longer absorbed by administration and compliance.

Sales activity in the commercial sector has increased following our decision to drop commercial conveyance duty to 5.5 per cent for properties valued at $1.65 million or greater—now among the lowest rates in the country.

The reduction of payroll tax is also delivering important support for small business, both to individual businesses and to the government's drive for diversification.

In addition to the considerable investment in major projects under the new city plan that has been announced by the Chief Minister, the government remains committed to job creation through support for front-line services. As part of this, major capital works are underway in the upgrade and building of new emergency services facilities across the ACT in order to meet the needs and expectations of the community for at least the next 20 years. It will ensure that our emergency services will continue to

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