Page 2543 - Week 08 - Thursday, 30 June 2005

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for the ACT? How do these compare with the results for other states and territories?

MR QUINLAN: The Hudson employment expectation survey results released yesterday are reflective of the continually buoyant job market in the ACT. During the September 2005 quarter, 50.8 per cent of ACT employers expect to increase permanent employment levels. Only 4.1 per cent are expecting to decrease staffing levels. This means a net positive effect of 46.7 per cent, which just happens to be the highest in Australia. The nearest is 38.1 per cent and the national average is 33.3 per cent.

One of the industries surveyed that recorded the most optimistic hiring outlook is information technology. That supports the government in its backing of the innovative and enterprise economy. The results vary between different sized businesses, but small and medium businesses intend to increase. I am not one to skite. This sets a very high base—and what goes up must come down; so we have not reported every Hudson expectation survey. But they have continued to be strong. There will be some ups and downs, but at this point the employment and business future of the ACT is looking strong. That sentiment is shared by the business sector itself.

MS PORTER: Mr Speaker, I ask a supplementary question. Minister, how does this survey compare with other recent surveys of business in the territory?

MR QUINLAN: It is in sync; it compares favourably with other recent business surveys. The latest survey of my very good friends at the ACT Chamber of Commerce showed that 83 per cent of Canberra businesses expected stable or improved business conditions in the last quarter. Additionally, the latest Sensis business index shows that 70 per cent of small businesses are confident of their business prospects over the next 12 months—again, well ahead of the national average.

This confirms the government’s strategy in helping to grow local businesses, as compared to the previous Liberal government’s habit of throwing money at multinationals, which had probably determined to come to or grow in Canberra anyway. This government intends to continue to work to develop the enterprise and innovation sector of the ACT economy to the benefit of all.

Tuggeranong—health care facilities

MR STEFANIAK: Mr Speaker, my question is to the Minister for Urban Services. He has been given some notice of this. Minister, I am advised that, during the recent tender for the contract management of the Tuggeranong lakeside pool and leisure centre, the tenderers were not advised that the adjacent block was being considered for approval for the building of a major health club facility. Within days of the announcement of the successful tenderer for the Tuggeranong pool and leisure centre it was announced by the government that it had just given approval for a new health club facility next door. Why were the tenderers not advised of this?

MR HARGREAVES: I thank Mr Stefaniak for the question and the opportunity to clear up some misconceptions out there. Firstly, in respect of the tender for the operation of the leisure centre, there are specific processes to do with the letting and acceptance of tenders. Those processes were strictly adhered to. That was done by the Department of Urban Services through Procurement Solutions, as would normally be the case. The

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