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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2016 Week 2 Hansard (16 February) . .

Page.. 416..


MR GENTLEMAN: He attended the site where there was a fall and, indeed, conducted the audit of the whole site after the incident, which is standard practice. The CFMEU representatives accompanied WorkSafe inspectors during that process. The inspectors have issued the principal contractor with six improvement notices covering issues such as housekeeping, testing of electrical appliances, clear access and egress and configuration of scaffolding and hand railing systems.

So you can see that WorkSafe ACT does work together with the union representatives, work safety inspectors and of course the employers to ensure the best outcomes for our workers on site in the territory.

Economy—performance

MS PORTER: My question is to the Treasurer. Treasurer, can you please inform the Assembly about how the ACT economy is currently performing?

MR BARR: I thank Ms Porter for the question. I am pleased to advise the Assembly that the ACT economy continues to perform well. Our gross state product grew by a solid 1.4 per cent in the 2014-15 fiscal year, bringing the size of the ACT economy to almost $35 billion. I understand that makes the ACT's economy larger than Tasmania's. Last year our population grew by 1.4 per cent, which is more than 5,000 people, and the territory recorded very strong levels of international migration.

Retail trade was up 5.5 per cent through the year to December, indicating a strong degree of confidence in local economic conditions. Despite a net decrease in Australian public service employment in the territory—decreasing by nearly 9½ thousand jobs over the past four years—3,300 new jobs were created in the territory during 2015. CommSec's most recent state of the states report saw the ACT jump from sixth place to third amongst the states and territories, further demonstrating our economic resilience.

I have said many times in this place that, in order to continue to grow our economy, we must step up our national and international engagement. No economy of our size ever got rich by selling to ourselves. So I am pleased to note that exports from the territory are growing very strongly and are now worth $1.3 billion annually. Our largest single export—education-related travel—grew by 16 per cent in 2014-15, reaching $436 million. This sector is expected to continue to benefit from a lower Australian dollar, combined with our efforts locally, in partnership with the territory's universities, to continue to boost the contribution of the education sector to the territory economy.

There are a range of other very positive signs that the private sector has confidence in our city, not the least of which was the announcement last month that Singapore Airlines will fly direct from Canberra to Singapore and from Canberra to Wellington. This of course did not happen by accident. It was the result of a lot of hard work by this government and the Canberra international airport. As I have mentioned, these flights will be a significant economic game-changer for Canberra.


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