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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2014 Week 6 Hansard (4 June) . . Page.. 1791..


Having made those general remarks, let me turn quickly to the motion and the amendment. I will be supporting Mr Barr's amendment today. As I said earlier, 60 per cent is probably not quite where I would land, but I think the general spirit of Mr Smyth's motion is right. We do want to diversify the economy. I think Mr Barr has picked up the key points there and I will be supporting his amendment today.

MR SMYTH (Brindabella) (5.44): At least we have some certainty out of Mr Barr's speech. He does not like ratios and he does not like rounding. And that is unfortunate. He is upset by my writing 60 per cent. Under the rounding laws, 57 per cent gets rounded up. Again, we could talk 60-40. If you want to talk 57½ versus 42½, we can do that. Is it 50-50 or 49-51? There is the problem. This is a man that does not like ratios and does not like rounding. And if that is his argument against my motion, it is a fairly feeble argument.

I would agree with much that Mr Barr and Mr Rattenbury said. It is a young economy. We have got a long way to go. It is a time forced upon us, but it is a time when we can actually be a bit bold and a bit ambitious about where we go. I would agree that in the late 1990s a lot of the jobs were shifted. It was just simply shifting. But they are counted in the statistics. That may be where they ended up, but the question is: where did they stay? Some of the stats I have seen would suggest that—and I would hate to round something—we ended up with 50-50 at one stage. It was actually 49.3 per cent and 50 per cent on the other side. But it was approximately 50-50.

The point is: if we are going to fund all the projects that the government wants to fund and find people to use them and have jobs to support those people, then we really need to have a good, hard look at ourselves as a city. Again, I make the point from the Canberra Times article about the Ernst & Young report:

But the authors urge caution in interpreting the figures, warning that they are the "gross employment footprint", and most of the jobs are not new to the territory but drawn from elsewhere in the ACT.

That is the shuffling. Civic is like a donut. It gets broken every now and again, it gets pulled and stretched. It was east Civic, then it was west Civic, then it was city to the lake, and then it was back to the city plan. Now it is going to be spread all down Northbourne Avenue. At the same time we are going to do the brickworks, Kingston foreshore, Riverview, while continuing with Molonglo and Gungahlin and having some liberal spattering of infilling around the territory. Where are the people coming from? Where are the jobs coming from to support those people? And I am saying you have to have a greater look at what is happening and what could happen and work on the potential.

Mr Rattenbury said, "What does it look like?"I would agree. I do not think there is a simple answer. Some of it will be big industries. For instance, in the 1990s, Kate Carnell and the government went after ICT. There is a lovely article, I think it is in the March 2002 St George George magazine, that says that the ACT has become the IT capital of the country. It did not just happen. It was something we worked at. We got some of it wrong. We got a lot of it right. But we did work at it. But at the same time, I think you have got to play to your local strengths.


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