Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2003 Week 9 Hansard (26 August) . . Page.. 3168 ..
MR HARGREAVES (continuing):
known as the Yellow Pages Business Index, were released today. Can you advise the Assembly of the results of that survey for the ACT?
MR QUINLAN: I thank Mr Hargreaves for the question. There is a bit of nostalgia in receiving such a question, because I do remember with the former government that whenever one of the business indices improved there were quite wide claims made and all credit taken. We have tried to avoid that in this Assembly, simply because we do recognise that there are more influences on the ACT economy than the government itself. Politically, it might be smart to do so, because what goes up must come down sooner or later, and what goes down must come up to some extent.
But I have to advise that in the latest Yellow Pages survey, which now goes under the term "Sensis", all the indices and all the business optimism were very positive; but, more importantly, more than any other state except Tasmania, with which we are level, the government has the confidence of business.
Mr Smyth: We left you with a good legacy, didn't we?
MR SPEAKER: Order!
MR QUINLAN: It has improved in recent times. The significant element of it is the improvement.
Mr Smyth: To which policy do you attribute this?
MR SPEAKER: Order, Mr Smyth!
MR QUINLAN: According to the survey, "the most significant factor that underpinned the ACT government's positive approval rating was the view that they were generally supportive of small business". Let me say that all the other indices measured in that survey were more positive for the ACT than they were for the national average-for sales, size of the work force, profitability, et cetera. The only cloud on the horizon is a possible reduction in capital expenditure.
I think that these results generally follow the local chamber of commerce survey. Of course, you would accept that a Labor government has to work pretty hard to come out on the positive side of a chamber of commerce survey.
This government will not be running laps of honour around London Circuit every time the unemployment rate shifts by a point or two, because we do realise that these things fluctuate and we do realise that the ACT has had the lowest unemployment rate in Australia for many years and that it is a result of many influences. But I did particularly want to advise the house, including those opposite, of the significant improvement in business confidence, based on the confidence of business in its government.
MR HARGREAVES: I have a supplementary question. Can the minister advise the Assembly about proactive programs that the government has in place or is working on that are designed to assist business in the ACT?