Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2022 Week 12 Hansard (Wednesday, 30 November 2022) . . Page.. 4082 ..
public would ordinarily be aware of. But we are all still human. So to everyone, I would like to say: enjoy your break, spend time with friends and loved ones. Spend time just with yourself as well. Everyone is running on empty after such massive years and we need to recognise that. Then we can come back to a bigger and better 2023.
MR BARR (Kurrajong—Chief Minister, Treasurer, Minister for Climate Action, Minister for Economic Development and Minister for Tourism) (4.18): There is a lot to reflect on as we approach the end of another busy year. Twelve months ago we acknowledged what was a challenging 2021, marred by COVID. But it was also a time of optimism as we became one of the world’s most vaccinated jurisdictions and we focussed on our recovery. Today, as we near the end of 2022, with 32 years of consecutive economic growth and a reaffirmed AAA credit rating, the Territory continues to have a strong economy and the strongest labour market and the lowest unemployment rate in the country. With around 240,000 jobs in our economy we are well on track to reach our target of 250,000 by 2025.
Of course this year has had its challenges. COVID continues to linger in the community. However, it has been great to see our city recover so strongly. Canberrans are renowned for their personal responsibility and looking out for each other, so as we go into this Christmas season I again want to take the opportunity to thank Canberrans for doing the right thing.
This year the government has continued to deliver infrastructure and services that the growing community needs. The hospital expansion is well underway, with continued designing, building and opening of new schools. As we have debated extensively in this sitting fortnight, we are progressing the expansion of the light rail network. We are planning for Canberra’s future, including introducing a comprehensive new planning bill and consulting on a new Territory plan and district strategies.
We are delivering more diverse and affordable housing options. We continue to lead the nation on climate action and I am pleased that the Sustainable Household Scheme has delivered more than $118 million in loans for upgrades across our city, including rooftop solar, electric heating and cooling and electric vehicle chargers. This year we also took a nation-leading approach to decriminalise small-scale possession of illicit drugs, a significant social justice measure that will get people suffering from addiction the help they need.
I want to take this opportunity to acknowledge the efforts of the ACT public service throughout the year and particularly thank my directorate, Chief Minister, Treasury and Economic Development. Of course, as we know, many public servants and others throughout the community will be working throughout the holiday period to provide essential and emergency services for our city. Thank you to those people. I hope they find time to spend some time with their loved ones over the Christmas break.
I want to thank my ACT government colleagues for their continued passion, dedication and hard work over the past year. I acknowledge all Assembly colleagues across the floor. It is clear we do not agree on much, but we do, I believe, share a