Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2002 Week 5 Hansard (7 May) . . Page.. 1218 ..
MR QUINLAN: I think this is a jolly good question and within a short space of time I will find the answer. Let me inform you. A strong theme of our election commitments was the intention to give some structure to industry policy, and to create some commonsense frameworks for government efforts to improve development within the territory. The thinking behind this is not radical-well, not radical for this side of the house, I have to say. Thinking is not something of which we have seen very much, particularly in relation to industry policy in the territory in recent years.
To put it simply, the territory can only expect slow population growth in the immediate or medium-term future. It can therefore expect minimal expansion in its revenue base. It is highly unlikely that Commonwealth spending, which is still the largest single influence on growth in demand in the territory, together with our own internally generated demand, will grow to the same extent as community expectations of service.
Going back to the fantastic growth of the private sector, I wanted to pick up on something that Mr Humphries said on radio this morning. Mr Humphries, I think by now you really are aware that, as indicated by state final demand figures, the private sector has not grown significantly in the ACT in terms of the original dollar. Certainly, the delivery of government services is now carried out by a greater percentage of private sector deliverers but, at the same time, there is still a high dependence on Commonwealth funding.
I think that, at the time that self-government began, the breakup of state final demand government expenditure was about 58 per cent for the private sector and 42 per cent for the public. The percentages have now changed to about 54 and 46, respectively. There are a lot more private sector jobs out there, but they are still dependent on government expenditure and, to a very large extent, on Commonwealth government expenditure.
It is important, then, that we actually try to build a diverse economy. We are aware that, in the ACT, the gap between the advantaged and the disadvantaged in the community continues to grow. The role of government in these circumstances is to promote sensible growth and to redistribute some of the benefits. Change is inevitable and this government intends to lead the change, and not be overcome by it. We choose to lead. We choose to anticipate external change, and to initiate our own changes aimed at providing jobs for this community and maintaining the high and increasing standard of living that many of us enjoy.
White papers are about decisions, and this one will fulfil that role. It will not necessarily mean a lack of research effort, but we will be employing resources both inside and outside government to examine a set of proposed policies with the aim of growing our economy. You might want to call this another review, but we are actually going to go out to talk to as many stakeholders in the ACT community, and in the region, as we possibly can.
We have seen past industry policy that has been typified by the attitude: "Oh, just do it"-Impulse, the V8 supercar race, the quarry and whatever. The attitude was: "Just do it and, when that fails, try another one." From this point, this government intends to factor into its industry and economic planning the various influences that will affect the ACT, as anticipated not just by government but by the stakeholders in the ACT. We will identify a set of framework policies that businesses in the ACT, and planning agencies