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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2001 Week 6 Hansard (13 June) . . Page.. 1610 ..

Mr Stanhope: How is that rugged campaign against you going?

MR SPEAKER: Order, please, Mr Stanhope!

MR HIRD: Can the Treasurer and Chief Minister, Mr Humphries, advise the parliament-

Mr Stanhope: You are done. They have got your measure this time, mate.

MR SPEAKER: I warn you, Mr Stanhope.

MR HIRD: Can the Chief Minister and Treasurer advise the parliament on whether the government has received the statistics for state final demand? If so, how do the figures for the ACT compare with those for the national final demand and what factors are contributing to the results?

MR HUMPHRIES: I thank Mr Hird for that question. Indeed, the figures compare very well. State final demand grew in the March quarter by 3.3 per cent in seasonally adjusted terms. The March year average is 4.8 per cent. State final demand for the ACT, therefore, is well above the national average figure of 2.3 per cent which was also released last week by the federal Treasurer. The state final demand is above South Australia, Queensland, Victoria and New South Wales. It is well above the seasonally adjusted figure for the December quarter, when state final demand declined by 4.2 per cent, and is ahead of the forecast for state final demand in the budget, which is particularly significant given the assertion that has been made that the forecasts in the budget were overly optimistic. In fact, as it turns out, in this case the budget is too conservative.

There were a number of factors contributing to that. Government consumption figures have turned around. There was an increase of 7 per cent in the March quarter in that respect. That is significant because, if that is what, I believe, caused the decline in the last quarter and it was quite anomalous, it is quite appropriate that it be a reason for the return, the springback, in this quarter. Household consumption has increased by 2.8 per cent and, most significantly perhaps, private dwelling investment in the ACT recovered well in March 2001, recording a 45.5 per cent increase in the quarter after a decline of approximately 30 per cent in the December quarter. I look at those figures and say that the housing sector is looking pretty strong; there is not too much to worry about.

Mr Berry: I missed that bit. How many more are unemployed?

MR HUMPHRIES: There are fewer unemployed than there were when you were in office, Mr Berry; that is all you need to know. There are fewer unemployed than there were when you were in office; a lot fewer, in fact.

The figures again show that the ACT economy is performing very well. I have to say that they put paid to the suggestion by Mr Quinlan that the government will not achieve its growth targets for the coming financial year. I think it is most unlikely indeed that he will be proven to be true. Indeed, I think the fact that he is wrong about that is supported by the view taken by his leader, Mr Stanhope, who said in the Canberra Times of 27 May, "It is certainly true that the ACT has outperformed the nation." Indeed it has.

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