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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2021 Week 07 Hansard (Tuesday, 22 June 2021) . . Page.. 1824 ..

emerging technology but also in removing the financial barriers that may otherwise prevent households from investing in renewable upgrades and benefiting from the savings they offer.

Of course, the government’s actions on climate change also extend to the labour force and the broader economy. Our climate action policy direction is entwined with our recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic, as we focus on strengthening our economy and increasing our employment base to more than 250,000 jobs by 2025. The territory’s strong economic position prior to the pandemic, driven by population growth, low unemployment and ongoing investment—as well as our considered and decisive action at the peak of the pandemic—has put us in a better position than most to focus on economic recovery.

Of course, we have not emerged from this period unscathed. However, our actions have meant that the ACT continues to be one of Australia’s strongest economies, with the strongest labour market in the country. Unemployment is currently 3.6 per cent, significantly below the territory’s decade average and, of course, the lowest in the country by a long way. Youth unemployment is at 5.2 per cent, also the lowest in the country and less than half the national youth unemployment rate of 10.7 per cent.

The economic response to the pandemic has highlighted a shift to expansionary fiscal policy, with the Reserve Bank of Australia urging the commonwealth, state and territory governments to boost public spending and accelerate job creation. Governments can embrace risk and they can seek to drive towards full employment by creating and shaping markets through a combination of strategic investment and an unwavering commitment to the provision of essential public services.

So it is our job to protect and create sustainable jobs in our economy. That is why the ACT’s jobs and economic recovery plan identifies the renewable energy sector as one of the territory’s key innovative, high-growth industry sectors. Renewable energy jobs are indeed jobs of the future, and they are sustainable, and this is where part of our employment growth will be over the coming years. A significant example of this is the global battery storage market, which is expected to grow to more than $400 billion in value by 2030. By taking real action on climate change and utilising public investment and regulatory settings to attract and multiply private sector investment, we are ensuring Canberra is in a strong position to compete for these jobs. Continuing to invest in sustainable infrastructure, like large-scale battery storage, is a key component of this strategy.

The ACT government is investing in the infrastructure Canberra needs to ensure it continues to be one of the world’s most liveable and sustainable cities. Our infrastructure investment program is the largest in the territory’s history and commits over $4 billion over the next four years across a range of important projects, including a light rail system running on 100 per cent renewable electricity. We know that well-planned infrastructure not only supports a productive economy; it also supports our adaptation to climate change and enhances wellbeing.

As Australia continues to both manage and recover from the pandemic, sustainability and liveability are emerging as significant factors in people’s decisions as to where

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