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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2010 Week 11 Hansard (Tuesday, 19 October 2010) . . Page.. 4641 ..

first-home owners boost initiative, the relatively low interest rate environment and strong population growth.

Canberra has the best home loan affordability in Australia. The ACT’s healthy economy, with an unemployment rate which is the lowest in the country and household incomes outstripping all other states and the Northern Territory has continued to support growth in house prices. Many statistical and financial indices show that buying a home in the ACT is still affordable for the majority of Canberrans, given the ACT’s high median household income. The outlook for the local housing industry is positive, reflecting a strong demand and continuing a high level of housing affordability in the ACT.

MR SMYTH (Brindabella) (4.25): I would have thought that Mr Hargreaves, given his interest in these matters, would have stood up and immediately told us that he is now interested in the sustainability industries because, as you would recall, Madam Assistant Speaker, it was Mr Hargreaves who said he did not know what they were and he did not care. That was Mr Hargreaves’s approach. It was interesting to have Mr Hargreaves stand and read somebody else’s speech, which really was just a list of the things we have done—inputs again—without actually telling the people of the ACT what the outcome was. You can rattle off a number of measures in this regard. You can take all the credit that you want but, at the end of the day, what we have seen in the ACT since the Stanhope government came to office is a decline in private sector employment in the ACT.

Ms Gallagher: Not true.

MR SMYTH: Ms Gallagher, the Treasurer, says it is not true. The latest stats as of 30 June 2009 say that there was 49 per cent public employment and 51 per cent private employment. In 2001-02, it was 41 per cent and 59 per cent. So it has changed. To say it is not true is just wrong. We know that this minister is often wrong on these matters. It is glib and it is easy to say it’s not true but the reality is that it has changed.

If you go to the official statistics, you will find that the percentage of private sector employment has declined. Why is that? It has declined because of the lack of leadership of people like Jon Stanhope and Katy Gallagher. Indeed, people like Ted Quinlan—and people know that Ted and I did not always agree, but at least Ted did try. One can only imagine his exasperation. We can see what it led to when he left this place. We know that he could not control his colleagues. We know that because of FOIs of the government’s activities. There are letters. I recall one matter where Mr Quinlan said, “Yes, you can spend the current money that you have.” It was a letter to Mr Wood at the time. I think he had Urban Services, Mr Hargreaves. He said: “Yes, you can spend within your budget, but there is no more money. This spending cannot continue.” But the spending did continue. That is why we have deficits and that is why we have the prospect of large borrowings into the future.

It is interesting to go back. After all the whining and the lamenting from the government—I have said it here before and I am going to say it again—we had the summary from Mr Stanhope which was, “Yes, I lament the lack of a broader economic base.” But what did they do about it? They did absolutely nothing. I waited

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