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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2018 Week 02 Hansard (Wednesday, 21 February 2018) . . Page.. 451 ..

reach for ordinary families and first homebuyers. In the year up to November 2017, dwellings financed by owner-occupiers increased by 26.9 per cent. Over the same time period first homebuyers represented 21 per cent of total housing loans, which is seven per cent higher than the previous year.

The increase in owner-occupiers is also an indication that Canberra is not becoming like other major Australian cities where investors price out ordinary families. The recent increase in land tax for foreign investors in the ACT will further balance the market in favour of Canberrans when it comes into force. This is an important step in tackling any problems with housing affordability.

I am proud to be part of a government that is overseeing such a strong economy. The creation of 10,000 new jobs, 8,000 of which are full time, is a momentous achievement for this government. Our focus on diversifying the economy will help secure Canberra’s economic future. Partnerships between government, community groups and businesses are helping Canberra to grow into an even more livable city. More investment means a better city for Canberrans.

The ACT’s increasing population shows that we are not alone in our belief that Canberra is a fantastic place to live. A strong local economy will ensure that Canberrans continue to enjoy a high quality of life in our city, with great schools, hospitals and essential services. I want all members of the Assembly to support this motion.

MR COE (Yerrabi—Leader of the Opposition) (10.20): The opposition welcomes the opportunity to chat about our economy. Of course, the motion before us has two parts. The first part presents some data indicating the economic good fortune of the ACT. The most noticeable feature of the data presented is the low unemployment rate and the job creation figure for 2017. Of course, having a job is fundamental to the health and wellbeing of individuals and society. I trust everyone in this place will view the longstanding record of employment growth and low unemployment in the ACT as a very good thing.

However, the second part of the motion presents data on “the increased diversification of the ACT economy”. Here the motion fails to make its point. Most of the data presented in the motion is produced by the ABS; also it is conveniently summarised in briefs prepared by ACT treasury. So Mr Pettersson’s failures in this description are somewhat curious given these are briefs that his government has prepared.

For example, the motion states that an increased diversification of the economy is indicated by a “24 per cent annual increase in private sector job vacancies as of November 2017”. The percentage change does not really tell us a great deal. If it did then the motion is in some trouble. The ACT treasury brief on job vacancies clearly shows that while private sector job vacancies increased by 23.3 per cent, public sector job vacancies increased by 35.7 per cent. So the figure does not really mean anything at all. But if it does mean something, as Mr Pettersson claims, public sector job increases of 35.7 per cent over private sector increases of 23.3 per cent would suggest that there is a higher growth rate in the public sector, not in the private sector; hence the diversification that he is trying to point to is not happening.

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