Next page . . . . Previous page . . . . Speeches . . . . Contents . . . . Debates(HTML) . . . .

Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2002 Week 5 Hansard (7 May) . . Page.. 1251 ..

MR SMYTH (continuing):

That is what we did. We did it through sensible financial management. We did it through better accounting systems than had ever been in place before. We did it through being open and honest, by tabling more reports and having more involvement with the community, in the process, than ever before.

In this motion today we say that the territory budget is in a very robust state, and I believe that we do have that budget. I think one of the measures we should look at is, how does the business community see us? How do they judge their level of confidence in the context of the economy as it now stands?

I go to the latest March expectation survey from the ACT Chamber of Commerce. It is very pleasing to read this, because it speaks of the national economic performance. This is a report of chambers of commerce all around the country. It brings their data together to give the national expectation.

The national position is that a large percentage of surveyed businesses-46 per cent-expect the national economy to remain at its current level in the July quarter. Eighteen per cent expect it to weaken, and 36 per cent of the surveyed firms expect the national economy to strengthen in the coming quarter. That is for all of Australia.

With the ACT comparison, an overwhelming majority of ACT businesses-83 per cent-expect the local economy to remain constant or increase in strength in the July quarter. That is 83 per cent against 46 per cent. Twenty-nine per cent expect it to strengthen. No surveyed business describes their expectations for the ACT economy in the coming quarter as much weaker.

A government should be proud of having that sort of confidence in the economy they manage. Rightly, the existing government can stand up and claim credit for it. However, they cannot claim credit for it because we have heard today, the shameful-I think-announcement that they do not have a business policy, an industry policy or a growth policy, and will not have one until some time early next year. We will go 15 months without any ideas from this government on how to foster a stronger economy! They ought to be ashamed that it will take that long to put together a clear plan and vision for what will happen in the ACT.

We had the shameful appearance of the Treasurer in this two-bit play as the boy who cried wolf. There he is, hunting for a deficit. He hopes desperately that he will have a deficit so he can blame us because his government cannot keep their under-funded over-promises. Mr Deputy Speaker, I think it is important for that to be on the record.

Continuing through this survey from the Chamber of Commerce, in the ACT 75 per cent of surveyed businesses reported no fall in general business conditions in the April quarter, and 36 per cent experienced a rise in general business conditions. Encouragingly, 91 per cent of surveyed businesses expect no fall in general business conditions in the July quarter, and 59 per cent expect an increase.

That is not because of the government, because the government is not doing anything. When being interviewed as the Chief Minister elect, Mr Stanhope promised that there would be no five or six-month hiatus period. Well, he has kept that promise. On industry policy, there is going to be a 15-month hiatus period because they are bereft of ideas.

Next page . . . . Previous page . . . . Speeches . . . . Contents . . . . Debates(HTML) . . . .