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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2010 Week 01 Hansard (Thursday, 11 February 2010) . . Page.. 318 ..

Following a period of negative growth from the September quarter 2008 to the March quarter 2009, which pointed to a so-called technical recession here in the ACT, our state final demand rebounded strongly in the June quarter 2009 and continued to grow in the September quarter 2009. The economy, therefore, recovered strongly, growing by four per cent in the six months to September 2009. The federal government’s stimulus measures and, in some part, our own local initiatives, have supported this local recovery.

Although the CFG affected employment in the ACT, the territory still continues to have a low unemployment rate, with the second highest participation rate in the country in January 2010. The unemployment rate followed a general upward trend since January 2009 but has remained well below the national rate. Indeed, I think today’s figures released show our unemployment rate to be 3.8 per cent against a national unemployment rate of 5.4 per cent. So, whilst there has been a slight growth,—0.1 per cent growth—in our unemployment rate, it still remains about 1.6 per cent below the national rate, which is a very good outcome for people here in the ACT.

We have seen against a number of economic indicators positive news for the ACT economy. I look forward to working with industry and other members in this place to make sure that we do all we can to support a continuation of the recovery that we have seen occur in the last six months of this year.

MR SPEAKER: Ms Porter, a supplementary question?

MS PORTER: Thank you, Mr Speaker. Treasurer, what was the impact of monetary and fiscal policy stimulus measures on the ACT’s housing market?

MS GALLAGHER: I think it is fair to say that some of the best news that has come out through the economic indicators has been around the performance of the ACT’s housing market. It really has been shown to be resilient during the economic downturn, very much supported by the federal government’s first home owner boost initiative; of course, and the relatively low interest rate environment—we are a very interest rate sensitive community here—and some of the work that we were doing to support the housing market here in the ACT, working alongside industry.

You can see that year on year to December 2009 the number of housing finance commitments for owner occupation in the ACT in original terms registered growth of 31.3 per cent compared to an increase of 13.8 per cent nationally. So the ACT recorded the strongest annual growth in the country.

Residential building approvals in the ACT grew by 37 per cent year on year to December 2009 compared to a 2.1 per cent fall nationally. Year on year to November 2009, the value of individual investor commitments in the ACT was up 34 per cent, the second largest increase in the country.

For the year ending December 2009, first home buyer housing finance commitments accounted for 22 per cent of all housing finance commitments in the ACT, which is

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