Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1995 Week 04 Hansard (Wednesday, 21 June 1995) . . Page.. 1053 ..
Job advertisements are measured by the ANZ Bank in a statistical series published each month. The latest figures are for the month of May. They show that job advertisements in the ACT rose by 4.6 per cent over the April figure. These statistics are volatile; so it is probably more useful to compare the May 1995 figure to the figure one year earlier. Once again, it shows job advertisements rising, this time by 8.6 per cent on the figure for May 1994. I say again: Job advertisements rose in May; they did not fall, Mr Berry. This is not the first time Mr Berry has played a little bit fast and loose with economic data. If he would like a briefing at any stage to improve his level of economic knowledge, we are very happy to organise that.
On the issue of unemployment, the latest figures show a trend rate of 7.4 per cent in the ACT compared to the national trend of 8.4 per cent. In other words, the unemployment rate in the ACT is one percentage point below the national average. Full-time employment in the ACT also rose in May. I trust that the Opposition will welcome the obvious show of business confidence in Canberra reflected by rising job advertisements and full-time employment. It is true to say that, during 1994 and the first bit of 1995, whilst the national unemployment rate fell considerably, the unemployment rate in the ACT was fairly static. In other words, the ACT has not fared as well as the rest of the country during the economic recovery. Along with other members on this side of the house, I would be interested in hearing what the former Government was doing to combat this slump in the ACT economy in 1994, because it is fairly obvious that nothing much happened during that time, if the figures are to be believed.
MR BERRY (5.42): I am delighted to rise to respond to that. I get my figures from the ANZ Bank and from the Bureau of Statistics as well. Mrs Carnell was quick to point out that job advertisements over one month had risen by 4 per cent; 28 more jobs were advertised. Over the year, the trend was still downwards, and continued to trend downwards, as a result of the employment base, against the national trend. Nationally, employment has been improving, but in the ACT it continues to decline. You cannot deny that. So, do not accuse me of misusing the figures when you know very well that there is no business confidence in this Government, and for very good reason, as I have said in a couple of debates before, and that relates to the inability of the Government to show leadership.
You hear the rumours - strong ones, indeed - about the review of private sector workers compensation, and documents have been flying around in relation to that. Workers are concerned about those issues, but business is concerned about them too. They do not know what to expect from the Government because they have not been presenting an image that would demonstrate to business that there is any form of leadership going on in this Government. This is a Government that is all about image and lacks substance. When you look at the figures right across Australia, the Federal Government has had massive success. Yes, it is true that in the ACT we are doing better than nationally in percentage terms; but, when you look at the trends, the ACT is still trending downwards and the rest of the country is trending upwards.