Page 873 - Week 03 - Thursday, 30 March 2006

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Building and construction

MS PORTER: Mr Speaker, my question, through you, is to the Minister for Planning. Can you advise the Assembly on how the government has contributed to the ACT’s dramatic jump in construction growth in this city, as reported by the Australian Construction Industry Forum and reported in today’s Canberra Times?

MR CORBELL: I thank Ms Porter for the question. I know that Mrs Dunne hates this bit. That is probably why she is leaving.

The Australian Construction Industry Forum announced yesterday that projected growth in construction in the ACT would jump dramatically in both the short and the long terms. In the short term in the ACT, the Australian Construction Industry Forum has anticipated and measured that they believe we will see a 29.2 per cent increase in construction activity—this from a seven-year historic average of minus 0.4 per cent per annum. The good news about these figures is that they are not just a flash in the pan. The advice from the Construction Industry Forum, which represents major construction peak bodies across the country, is that the long-term outlook for the ACT is also strong, with an 11 per cent per annum growth.

How is the ACT shaping up compared with the Australian average? I know Mrs Dunne was very interested in Australian averages earlier in question time today. Let us look at what the Construction Industry Forum anticipates. For the period 2005 to 2007, the Australian average of growth in construction is going to be, based on their figures, 4.6 per cent. Over the same period, 2005 to 2007, the ACT average will not be 4.6 per cent, 5.6 per cent or even 10.6 per cent but 29.2 per cent.

Over the longer term, the figures are equally as strong. From 2005 to 2010, the Australian average will be 4.2 per cent, but the ACT average per annum will be 14.7 per cent. Between 2005 and 2013, the Australian average will be 4.4 per cent, but the ACT average will be 11 per cent, or double the national average.

These are strong figures for the ACT. They demonstrate real confidence by the building and construction industry here in the ACT in the economy, in the planning system that we have in place, in the planning polices that we have in place and demonstrate their willingness to invest and put buildings on the ground.

We also, as a jurisdiction, top the projections for changes in engineering construction spending, with the ACT projected to increase spending in the period 2005 to 2007 by 17.6 per cent; from 2005 to 2010, by 9.8 per cent; from 2005 to 2013, by 8 per cent. We are seeing real increases in construction activity in building the territory’s infrastructure as well as in non-residential building activity. The forum has identified the ACT as “forecast to have the highest construction growth rate of any state in eight years.”

Why is this so? The reason for it is that, firstly, the government has put in place a clear planning policy on where it wants development and construction activity to occur in Canberra. That is the first and most important thing we have done: a clear framework for development activity. Secondly, we have released land. Unlike those opposite who released virtually no land for either residential or commercial construction in the ACT,

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