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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1999 Week 7 Hansard (1 July) . . Page.. 2004 ..

MS CARNELL: Mr Speaker, that is the sort of issue that the people of Canberra are interested in because it is the sort of issue that makes a difference to people's lives. There are 309,000 people in this city who are interested in how well our city has recovered from the economic downturn that occurred in 1996 and early 1997. Mr Speaker, that makes a difference to them, even if the six members of the Labor party are not interested, not even slightly interested, and never have been. Mr Speaker, I have to say that even we have been somewhat surprised, but certainly delighted, with the turnaround that has occurred in the ACT economy over the past two years. It has happened significantly quicker than anybody would have given credit for.

Earlier this month, the Australian Bureau of Statistics reported that in the March quarter 1999 the ACT economy had grown by 6.4 per cent over the previous 12 months. This increase in State final demand was the third highest of all States and Territories. As well, in the March quarter, private sector investment increased by 2.5 per cent and was up by a massive 6.4 per cent on the previous 12 months, compared with a fall nationally - - -

Mr Berry: I rise to order, Mr Speaker. I think the Chief Minister may have mixed up her speeches. We heard that one this morning on the Estimates Committee.

MR SPEAKER: Sit down. There is no point of order.

MS CARNELL: Mr Speaker, I can understand why those opposite do not like the fact that the economy is performing extremely well, but I have to say that these are the sorts of reasons that we are in this place - to get the economy working and to create jobs. Unfortunately, those opposite do not see it that way, and it shows. Mr Speaker, that compares with a fall nationally of more than 3 per cent over the year. Based on current trends, growth in the Territory's economy is likely to outstrip the figure of 2.6 per cent which was forecast by the Government in the 1998-99 budget. It is worth reminding those opposite of what their colleagues said in estimates last year, and I quote from that report:

The Committee expresses serious concern that the Government's forecasts for growth in 1998-99, which are higher than any other forecasts of growth in Australia, may have a detrimental impact on the budget.

There is only one word that could adequately describe that comment, Mr Speaker, and that is, "Whoops, we got it wrong big time".

Mr Corbell: That is more than one word.

Mr Hargreaves: You cannot count. Great Treasurer!

MS CARNELL: Indeed, in 1997-98 the ACT's gross State product increased by 4.3 per cent in real terms.

Mr Hargreaves: Give her your calculator, Harold.

MS CARNELL: Mr Speaker, I know that those opposite are not interested - - -

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