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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2006 Week 8 Hansard (24 August) . . Page.. 2627..


MR SMYTH (continuing):

after new industries and make sure that you reduce the burden on everyone as a whole and spread it widely on as many as you can."It is a shame that the government has taken that approach. A lack of strategy is apparent throughout the entire document.

Proposed expenditure agreed to.

MR SPEAKER: I welcome the adult migrant English group from the CIT, who are with us today.

Part 1.6—Central Financing Unit—$214,000 (capital injection), $11,943,000 (payments on behalf of the Territory), totalling $12,157,000.

DR FOSKEY (Molonglo) (12.25): The estimates committee noted that the investment funds held by the Central Financing Unit were invested nationally to maximise financial return while minimising risk. It may be that the investment brief held by the Central Financing Unit and the advice given are too restrictive. The CFU should be under an obligation at least to examine the possibility of investing a percentage of its funds within the ACT. Even if the immediate returns to the CFU on those investments are slightly lower than comparable risk level investments elsewhere, the broader benefits to the ACT economy and community may far outweigh the slightly lower direct returns. If a CFU investment results in a business venture occurring in the ACT that otherwise would not have occurred, then the multiplier effect kicks in to amplify the benefits to the ACT economy.

But there are also benefits that are not so obvious if one employs a straight financial analysis. I am referring to quality of life issues that are revealed by triple bottom line thinking and accounting practices. Higher employment rates mean lower health costs, less welfare spending and generally happier people, with the caveat, of course, that it depends on the nature of that employment and conditions within it.

Investment in government housing adds to the ACT's economic wealth and expands our ability to provide really affordable housing to a wider range of people. I also think that a portion of the CFU's portfolio should be directed to ethical investments, preferably within the ACT. Demand driven initiatives to encourage ethical business practices are one way that this government could nudge the business community to be more attentive to the social and environmental impacts of their investment activities. Ideally, environmental and social impacts will become incorporated into institutional and procurement policies and decision-making practices. This will result in businesses positioning and marketing their products in terms of their relative environmental advantages, rather than mere price differentiations that ignore adverse environmental and, at the moment, social externalities.

MR MULCAHY (Molonglo) (12.27): I will be brief.

MR SPEAKER: Bear in mind that I will interrupt.

MR MULCAHY: Yes, I know. I do not plan to speak for any great length of time. I was prompted to speak by Dr Foskey's views. I have to say that that Liberal opposition and, I suspect, the territory government, although they can speak for themselves, would really


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