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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1999 Week 9 Hansard (1 September) . . Page.. 2709 ..

MS CARNELL: True. Small business is doing well in Australia, but how do we compare with those other States of Australia? The survey found that for the three months to the end of July a net 40 per cent of ACT small business proprietors reported increased sales compared to just 11 per cent, which was the national average for small businesses; so, 40 per cent versus 11 per cent. This net 40 per cent figure was the second highest recorded since the index began to be measured in the ACT and is well ahead of the next best State's results for the last quarter. The next best State, Victoria, recorded a net 24 per cent. So, Mr Speaker, we are at 40 per cent; Victoria, at No. 2, is at 24 per cent.

In terms of profitability, a word I know Mr Berry chokes on - "Oh no, not profit; oh dear" - a net 29 per cent of Canberra small businesses reported an increase in the last three months compared with the national average of only 6 per cent. So, 29 per cent in the ACT, 6 per cent as the national average. I do love saying that word "profit". Mr Berry always blanches when you talk about profitability. In fact, it might even encourage him to do his "evils of profit speech" again at some stage in the near future, and that is always good fun.

The survey also stated that, for employment, the strong growth recorded in the February to April quarter continued during the past three months, with a net 9 per cent taking on new employees. That is what you would expect: More profit, more turnover, more jobs. So a net 9 per cent of people have taken on or are taking on new employees. Mr Speaker, this is second only to New South Wales, where Sydney is going through the boom associated with Olympic construction. Mr Speaker, capital expenditure by small business operators in Canberra also was up to a net 14 percentage points to be the highest in the country and well ahead of the national average of 8 per cent. So in terms of capital expenditure, 14 per cent for us, 8 per cent for the rest of Australia.

Now, before Mr Corbell gets too excited, as I think he did over the last Yellow Pages statistics, the small business sector's approval of this Government's policies improved during the last three months, with more proprietors seeing our policies as working for them rather than against them. It is worth noting that there are only three governments in Australia where this is the case, according to Yellow Pages. Which are those three governments? The Northern Territory, Victoria and the ACT. Interestingly, none are Labor governments. There is not one Labor government. Mr Speaker, this is very interesting, taking into account the slur campaign of those opposite over the last three months. It did not seem to work very well, did it? Mr Speaker, overall a net balance of 65 per cent of - - - .

Mr Stanhope: Is this the one where you broke the law? That campaign? That campaign where you broke the law?

MR SPEAKER: Will you be quiet, Mr Stanhope, and stop making these irrelevant interjections.

Mr Stanhope: Well, I do not know which slur campaign it was.

MR SPEAKER: Interjections are out of order anyway, and irrelevant ones even more so.

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