Page 479 - Week 02 - Tuesday, 10 February 2009

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proposed capital works package have on residential construction costs and housing affordability in the ACT?

MS GALLAGHER: I thank Mr Coe for the question. Again, I think the whole idea behind the stimulus package is lost on the opposition. The idea behind the stimulus package is to keep people in jobs and to keep people spending, not to provide jobs over and above what already exists in the economy. Mr Coe would also understand that the prices of many of the construction materials are decreasing, and it is not expected that this stimulus package would raise the cost of capital infrastructure for householders or businesses. The whole idea is to address a slowing national economy, to invest, to keep people in jobs and to keep consumer confidence at a level where people are prepared to spend. That is the idea behind the stimulus package.

With respect to the early advice that we got from the commonwealth, it is not advice that I have had that Treasury has disagreed with. We have spoken to quite a lot of industry groups in recent days about whether there is capacity in industry to deal with the projects that will come this way, and industry are very pleased about it. There is some slowing; there are some businesses here that are looking to make sure that their work plan over the next 12 months is solid. They have welcomed this package.

It will take a big, concerted effort from government for those areas for which we are responsible to deliver this. We have signed up. It has got very strict timetables. We are working across government to make sure that we remove any impediments to meeting those timetables. But the importance of this package—and I wait to hear whether or not the opposition actually support this package and support this money coming into the territory—cannot be underestimated. This is important for the ACT. There is no doubt that unemployment in the ACT will rise over the next 12 months. There are going to be very difficult times here, and this package will go a long way towards meeting some of those pressures.

Mr Hanson: Mr Speaker, I have a point of order on relevance. This is about construction costs and housing affordability, not about employment.

MR SPEAKER: Mr Hanson, there is no point of order. The Treasurer is giving relevant information about the state of the economy, which is the broad thrust of the question. Treasurer, would you like to continue?

Ms Gallagher: I have finished, thank you.

MR SPEAKER: Is there a supplementary question, Mr Coe?

MR COE: Thank you. Given the certainty with which you spoke about prices, will you table the advice and modelling you have received about this initiative?

MS GALLAGHER: I don’t have anything to table, Mr Speaker.


MS BURCH: My question is to the minister for housing. Can the minister tell the Assembly the benefits to public housing in the ACT stemming from the recent initiatives announced by the ACT Labor government and the federal government?

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