Page 90 - Week 01 - Tuesday, 8 February 2022

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(b) SEEK’s December 2021 Employment Report revealed the ACT had the second largest decline in jobs ads from the previous month;

(3) expresses concern that:

(a) the Labor-Greens Government have not addressed concerns related to the ACT’s job market; and

(b) Canberra’s private sector will continue to suffer under this Government’s excessive regulation, taxation and cost of doing business in the Territory; and

(4) calls on the ACT Government to:

(a) acknowledge the ACT is not experiencing a V-shaped economic recovery; and

(b) release an updated economic recovery plan by the next sitting week of 2022 to support small business through Omicron and future variants of COVID-19.

Paul Keating in the 1980s was fond of a theory called the J-curve, suggesting an initial fall in the Aussie dollar would create an upswing in the current account deficit. A graph of this would resemble the letter J. The J-curve failed to eventuate in the time predicted, with the late, great Senator John Button moved to remark, “I do not know who invented the bloody J-curve but, I tell you, it wasn’t an Australian who learnt about the Australian economy.”

From former Treasurer Keating, with his cherished J-curve, we move to ACT Treasurer and Chief Minister, Andrew Barr, who has presented us with his V-shaped recovery. Treasurer Barr has proclaimed a sharp, V-shaped recovery will keep the ACT economy strong after the 2021 lockdown. Madam Speaker, if you speak to struggling small business owners, which I do, they will echo Senator Button’s remarks, passing judgement on a Labor-Greens government hopelessly out of touch with the small business sector that is on its knees.

It was in this place on 23 November that the Chief Minister and Treasurer enlightened the chamber with his V-shaped economic insights. In fact, the Chief Minister said:

We are already seeing signs of a V-shaped recovery that was anticipated as we emerge out of lockdown.

Tell that to our struggling small business sector. The problem is Mr Barr’s V-shaped economic recovery is completely at odds with a raft of economic data, suggesting the ACT economy is anything but gangbusters.

Consider these recent economic reports: No 1, the latest CommSec State of the States Report, along with the ABS Labour Force Report, which reveal the ACT is the second worst performing economy in the nation; No 2, the two January reports also reveal the ACT has the second highest level of unemployment, at 4.5 per cent, and it recorded the second lowest retail spending in Australia; No 3, SEEK’s December 2021 employment report revealed the ACT had the second largest decline in job ads from the previous month.

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