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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1993 Week 08 Hansard (Thursday, 19 August 1993) . . Page.. 2513 ..

MR BERRY: The short answer, Madam Speaker, is that at the moment the AIDS funding has not been finalised. Negotiations are continuing between the Commonwealth and the ACT. The final amount of AIDS funding available this year will be announced in the ACT budget. There was an amount announced in the Federal budget in relation to AIDS funding across Australia.

MRS CARNELL: I have a supplementary question. The figures in the budget papers for 1992-93, Ms Follett, claim that AIDS funding for the ACT was $600,000. The budget papers for the ACT this year put that figure at $588,000 - $12,000 less. Yesterday in the house you claimed that AIDS funding had increased for the ACT. It has decreased by $12,000, according to what is printed in the papers. Do you now accept that you misled the Assembly yesterday?

MR BERRY: I answered that question for the Leader of the Opposition. I said that the final amount of AIDS funding available this year will be announced in the ACT budget.

State Accounts

MS ELLIS: My question is directed to the Chief Minister. Can the Chief Minister please advise the Assembly about today's ABS statistics on State accounts?

MS FOLLETT: I thank Ms Ellis for the question, Madam Speaker. I am very pleased to advise the Assembly that in economic terms we have now overtaken Tasmania. The latest State accounts publications, which were released today by the Bureau of Statistics, do confirm that the ACT economy has performed relatively strongly, and certainly well above the national standard. In 1992-93 the gross state product in the ACT increased by 4.9 per cent in nominal terms compared to 3.4 per cent nationally, and the ACT also recorded the second highest annual growth rate of any State or Territory. In fact, we were behind only Queensland.

The overall level of economic production in the ACT, as I said, now exceeds that of Tasmania and, if you take into account the whole south-east region of New South Wales, it is one-and-a-half times that of Tasmania. The Territory has also recorded a strong growth in gross operating surplus in 1992-93 and in the June quarter of 1993. That reflects improved profitability in most sectors of our economy. Madam Speaker, there was increased consumer demand, up by 1.37 per cent in the June quarter and by 7.3 per cent in annual terms. That, of course, is another indication of the underlying strength of the ACT's economy.

On the latest figures, while the overall level of private investment remained low during the June quarter, I am encouraged by the improvement in those business profitability levels. I believe that it will assist in future investment decisions in this Territory, and I am very pleased, overall, that the ACT is maintaining its strong growth rate in spite of the very slow upturn that is occurring nationally. I am confident that, as the recovery nationally does gather pace, business confidence and investment in the ACT will improve even further.

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