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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2021 Week 01 Hansard (Wednesday, 2 December 2020) . . Page.. 74 ..

usual budget update, and it will build upon the supply provisions in the August economic and financial update that I provided prior to the territory election.

The February statement will have the most up-to-date data in relation to federal-state financial relations and the state of the economy, although I do note that today the national accounts figures came out and were quite positive for the nation. They also present a very positive picture of the ACT’s performance over the last 12 months. We will take the next steps in the delivery of our infrastructure projects, some of which I touched upon in answer to the question from the Leader of the Opposition, as well as commencing the implementation of the parliamentary and governing agreement items that take the greatest priority in the work underway almost immediately.

The 31 August budget will be a more substantive and more traditional territory budget that will involve further rounds of community consultation within the usual time frames that people would be used to for the annual territory budget process. I add that it would be my expectation that by 2022 we would be able to return to near the usual budget cycle. (Time expired.)

MS ORR: Chief Minister, how is the territory’s economy performing relative to other jurisdictions?

MR BARR: I am pleased to say that we are performing the best of all of the states and territories. That is testimony, frankly, to our ability to maintain control of the virus. Economic outcomes are strongly linked to public health outcomes. It is absolutely impossible to retain a strong economy if the virus is running rampant. It has been the states and territories that have led the way in this nation over the last nine months in response to this global pandemic—the states and territories, Labor and Liberal governments—because the public health response is led by the states and territories. It is through that good work, in Liberal and Labor jurisdictions, at a state and territory level, that we are in the position that we are in as a nation. We take great pride in how the ACT has responded to this pandemic, and it is there in our nation-leading economic performance.

MR PETTERSSON: Chief Minister, how will the budget work towards achieving the jobs target?

MR BARR: I thank Mr Pettersson for the question. The number one economic priority is employment. It is about seeing more hours worked in the economy, and it is about seeing more people in jobs. That is the single most important economic metric for the government over the next four years. We are tracking towards a target of at least 250,000 jobs in the territory economy by 2025. The first task, of course, is to recover the jobs that have been lost during the pandemic. We are seeing some very encouraging signs that those jobs are coming back into the territory economy—coming back for women, coming back for young people, in particular.

With a single touch payroll and more data on unemployment and participation in the economy, last month’s labour force data showed participation up over 75 per cent, a full 10 percentage points higher than the rest of the nation. That demonstrates once again that this is Australia’s most productive and leading working city. Canberra is at

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