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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2019 Week 11 Hansard (Tuesday, 24 September 2019) . . Page.. 3773 ..

MR WALL: Minister, how are educational outcomes being impacted by overcrowding in government classrooms?

MS BERRY: I do not accept the premise of that question and there is no overcrowding in ACT government schools.

Economy—AAA credit rating

MS CODY: My question is to the Chief Minister. Chief Minister, can you please update the Assembly on recent economic data and credit rating updates that demonstrate how the government is creating more jobs for Canberrans?

MR BARR: I thank Ms Cody for the question. Members may be aware that last month Standard & Poor’s once again confirmed the ACT’s AAA credit rating, the highest possible credit rating. We are now one of only three states and territories in the nation that hold that highest credit rating. This recognises the territory’s very strong fiscal position and the release of the territory’s 2019-20 budget. The Standard & Poor’s commentary in relation to the territory’s rating was:

Our ratings on the ACT are underpinned by its robust financial management, high-income economy, and exceptional level of liquidity.

I can also advise that the ACT’s unemployment rate was recently reconfirmed as the lowest in the country. It dropped by a further 0.1 per cent to 3.5 per cent, considerably below the national figure, which has been rising in recent times to 5.3 per cent. In simple terms, that means more jobs for Canberrans. I can advise the Assembly that an all-time record 232,200 Canberrans are in work today.

The government has a clear and comprehensive economic plan that we are successfully implementing. We will certainly continue our focus on economic growth and fiscal sustainability for the territory into the long term.

MS CODY: Chief Minister, why is maintaining a AAA credit rating so important to fund our extensive infrastructure program?

MR BARR: The government is implementing a significant program of infrastructure investment. Next month we will release our long-term infrastructure plan for the territory, making significant investments that are required to cater for our growing population. Maintaining a AAA credit rating helps us deliver this program to invest in the hospitals, schools and transport infrastructure that our city will need through the next decade.

It is vital work to continue to provide high quality services to ensure that Canberra remains the world’s most livable city. It means that the ACT government will continue to invest in health and education, hiring more staff and building new infrastructure—hospitals, health centres and schools—and keeping our public assets strongly in public hands.

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