Page 3602 - Week 11 - Tuesday, 22 November 2022

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Economy—credit rating

DR PATERSON: My question is to the Chief Minister. Chief Minister, following the affirmation of the ACT’s credit rating, can you please update the Assembly on the economic outlook for the ACT?

MR BARR: Thank you Dr Paterson for the question. It is very pleasing that the Territory has retained the highest possible credit rating. There are only two states and territories in Australia with that highest possible credit rating, the ACT and Western Australia. On the question of the economic outlook, it undoubtedly has some challenges ahead but broadly speaking the outlook is positive. As Standard and Poor’s observed and for the benefit of the Assembly, I will quote:

Our ratings on ACT reflect its excellent financial management; very high-income economy, which is closely linked to the stable public sector; and exceptional liquidity. The territory historically has Australia’s most resilient labour market, with unemployment tracking 1-2 percentage points lower than the national average in the past half decade. Economic growth prospects are solid. We view ACT’s financial management positively. The territory has a professional and independent public service, and prudent debt management.

So, in summary Madam Speaker, our population is growing faster than anywhere else in the nation, our level of educational attainment continues to grow strongly, we have the lowest unemployment rate, we have the highest incomes, we have high quality government services and a strong infrastructure pipeline. Canberra is a great place to live.

DR PATERSON: Chief Minister, what are the biggest risks and challenges facing the ACT economy?

MR BARR: The most significant risks are now external. For example, the war in the Ukraine and the rolling lockdowns in China, which have driven up prices of international goods, particularly fuel. COVID-19 remains a managed risk within our economy and society, even with our high vaccination rates. It will continue to have an impact on how we live and work locally, in Australia and it still has a global economic impact.

MR PETTERSSON: Chief Minister, what is the government’s economic and fiscal strategy in light of those challenges and opportunities?

MR BARR: Thank you Mr Pettersson for the supplementary. We have a clear fiscal strategy and the government remains committed to sustainable economic growth, quality and efficient services, sustainable taxation and revenue, sound public finances and a strong balance sheet. As has just been re-endorsed for the 30th consecutive year by Standard and Poor’s, we take advantage of our continuing opportunities as a growing and diversified economy. Earlier this year, I released our economic development priorities, with three key missions. Firstly, that the city gives people back time, that it improves wellbeing and liveability. Secondly, that we work towards a net zero city and beyond, environmental responsibility and action.

Mr Hanson interjecting—

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