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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2010 Week 11 Hansard (Tuesday, 19 October 2010) . . Page.. 4648 ..

it is in our economic interest to do so and that just about every sector of our economy wants this to occur. It will create jobs and ultimately make the ACT more environmentally and economically sustainable.

As I said at the outset of my speech, our economy is doing well and our level of unemployment is lower than the national average. I think that we are at a point now where the majority of the community understands that a low emission, green economy is the most appropriate and prosperous way forward for the ACT. I thank you, Mr Assistant Speaker, for bringing on this MPI topic today.

MS GALLAGHER (Molonglo—Deputy Chief Minister, Treasurer, Minister for Health and Minister for Industrial Relations) (4.50): I join with Ms Hunter in thanking you, Mr Assistant Speaker, for today bringing on this MPI about the importance of a strong local economy to support local jobs. I welcome the opportunity to outline the government’s ongoing commitment to supporting local jobs by maintaining a strong and dynamic ACT economy. I know Mr Smyth cannot wait for this speech.

Mr Smyth: I am hanging off every word: you always say something I can use later.

MS GALLAGHER: That is good, Mr Smyth. I am glad I keep you entertained. The government’s commitment to maintaining and building new high-quality infrastructure has been critical to this goal. We understand the importance of high-quality infrastructure as it expands the productive capacity of the economy.

It also attracts new investment and provides more employment and more business opportunities. It helps us to be more prosperous and it provides for the health, learning and amenity of ACT citizens. In short, high-quality infrastructure helps make Canberra a great place to live, work and do business. Not only does the government recognise the critical role of infrastructure; more importantly, we have acted strongly in this area.

This government’s achievements in planning, investing in and maintaining the ACT’s infrastructure are substantial. Importantly, this infrastructure investment has played a direct role in maintaining the strength of the ACT economy. This is evidenced through recent data from the ABS.

The data shows that the ACT economy’s state final demand growth was above trend at 7.8 per cent in 2009-10. Data from the ABS clearly shows that the ACT economy’s outstanding performance is a direct consequence of both the federal and the ACT government’s stimulus initiatives. Public demand, both in consumption and in investment, contributed significantly to state final demand growth in 2009-10, with government investment being the main contributor to growth throughout the financial year. The combined ACT and commonwealth government public investment in infrastructure increased by 42.8 per cent in 2009-10.

Since coming to office this government has invested massively in infrastructure, to support jobs and our local economy, with record-breaking capital works delivered over recent years. Our annual capital works expenditure more than doubled from around $110 million in 2001-02 to $296 million in 2008-09. During this period, government investment as a share of the total economy also doubled.

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