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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2021 Week 08 Hansard (Wednesday, 4 August 2021) . . Page.. 2302 ..


Questions in relation to the detail of why certain businesses survive and others do not are the subject of some discussion and debate. There is some national research, I understand, into this matter. A little bit will depend on the nature of the business—as to whether it is sole trader, for example. There is a higher degree of sole trader and micro businesses in the ACT, where people register an ABN to undertake some additional income-earning activity that is secondary to their main job. That is one factor that is clearly the case in terms of both entries and exits in the ACT that appears to be somewhat different from other parts of Australia.

But the statistical difference between the ACT and the national average is not so great as to suggest that there is a massive gulf between what happens here and what happens elsewhere in Australia.

MR CAIN: Minister, how many of the new jobs required for us to reach the target of 250,000 will be created directly or indirectly by commonwealth government spending?

MR BARR: The commonwealth accounts for one in four jobs in our economy at the moment in terms of direct employment. If you then extrapolate commonwealth funding to public institutions like the universities, for example, that would see the level of commonwealth-generated job activity increase to close to perhaps one-half of all employment. That would be higher in the ACT, clearly, than any other economy in Australia.

I guess it depends on how far you extend the reach of “commonwealth-created”.

Mrs Jones: They do give us a fair bit of money.

MR BARR: Governments at federal and state and territory level are obviously significant employers in and of themselves, and there is an amount of money that is churned through the economy by governments to support other industries. For example, in recent days the commonwealth has put hundreds and hundreds of millions of dollars further into the aviation industry to protect employment. We could have a philosophical debate about whether jobs in the aviation industry are commonwealth supported or not. To some extent, they are, and they certainly have been extensively during the pandemic.

MS CASTLEY: Minister, why isn’t your government providing direct financial support to help businesses survive?

MR BARR: Our government is providing direct financial support to help businesses survive in a number of different ways across a number of different industry sectors, from grants to support business activity in the export field and grants to support business activity in the domestic market, tourism and otherwise. We continue to support a variety of different industry sectors.

Almost every part of the ACT economy has a degree of public subsidy, one way or the other. This city would not exist without government. This economy is artificial to the extent that it would not have generated $41 billion of activity if there was not


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