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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2018 Week 6 Hansard (7 June) . . Page.. 2202 ..


options, financial counselling and planning services, no-interest loans to meet individual needs, and microcredit loans. There is also counselling to provide emotional support for anyone involved and exiting the industry.

Noting that today is the last sitting day before the end of the period available for the applications, I encourage people to disregard what has been said by the members opposite, who have been steering people away from the transition support in disregard of what it is they may have been going through in life. I encourage people to make contact with Woden Community Service and to access the support that the government is providing.

Budget—employment

MS ORR: My question is to the Chief Minister. Chief Minister, what does the 2018 budget show about performance and prospects for the ACT economy?

MR BARR: I thank Ms Orr for the question. The budget this week shows that the ACT economy is amongst the strongest in the nation. We have seen growth of 13.6 per cent over the past three years as we see a continued diversification of the territory's economic base. Our strong economic growth has seen more than 10,000 jobs created in the territory economy, and I am pleased to advise the Assembly that there are over 2,000 more businesses operating in Canberra today than three years ago. Our companies are doing more international business, with the ACT service exports rising by 22 per cent since 2015.

The 2018 budget forecasts continued strong growth in jobs and economic activity in the years ahead. It is really pleasing to see that our international education sector expanded by 24 per cent last year and that prospects for further growth are strong, with providers like UNSW Canberra exploring significant expansion.

As we see more international airlines flying to Canberra and our city being recognised internationally as one of Lonely Planet's top cities to visit, the outlook for our tourism sector is also very positive. We expect to see more jobs created in a range of knowledge-based industries. It is again very pleasing to see that the city's professional, scientific and technical services sector grew by almost 36 per cent last year, showing that Canberra's local innovation companies are also thriving. The budget shows that our economy is growing, and the future for Canberra is very bright.

MS ORR: Chief Minister, how is the ACT government investing in stronger public sector agencies and job creation through the 2018-19 budget?

MR BARR: This year's budget does deliver a significant expansion of public services for Canberrans, particularly in our hospitals and schools, public services associated with local government responsibilities to improve the look and feel of our suburbs, investments in emergency services and, importantly also, our community services providers.

As a result, the ACT government's own workforce is expected to grow by over 300 full-time equivalent staff in 2018-19. This will include significant recruitment in


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