Page 1078 - Week 03 - Thursday, 26 February 2009

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appropriation is pretty small in terms of the scale of our own capital program but also of other influences in the ACT economy. I have said this to the media today: the effect of the supplementary appropriation will be difficult to monitor in terms of, going to your question, jobs; I think that was one element of your question. The aim of the appropriation was not as much to create jobs; it was to ensure that if people were considering laying off staff or reducing their workforce they consider that against the backdrop of the government’s commitments through this third appropriation.

The appropriation has been designed specifically to, I guess, encourage some confidence and some certainty for our small business operators in the ACT. The size of the package, you would have to say, would not have any impact on inflation. In terms of jobs that is a difficult question to answer because what we are about—and I think the federal government have covered this off in their stimulus package—is supporting jobs; not necessarily creating new jobs but ensuring that we are not compounding a problem of rising unemployment. That is the aim of the package. It is sensible, it is modest, it is targeted, it is timely and we hope that it offers some certainty to industry over the next 12 to 18 months.

MR SPEAKER: Mr Seselja, a supplementary question?

MR SESELJA: Yes, thank you, Mr Speaker. Treasurer, have you received any detailed advice from Treasury regarding the impact of the proposed stimulus package on inflation, employment and gross state product and, if yes, will you table that advice?

MS GALLAGHER: I received quite extensive advice on the third appropriation. I think I have answered in terms of the advice you seek. I am not sure how I could draw out those elements of it. We have had long discussions around this third appropriation. We have had discussions about whether we have got the capacity to afford it and we have had discussions about how difficult it would be to measure. But the size of the appropriation—let us put it in context—is $12.7 million this year. Our overall capital program is around $500 million a year. I do not think I have anything further to provide the Assembly in terms of specific advice relating to Mr Seselja’s question.


MR SMYTH: My question is to the Treasurer. Treasurer, what impact will the third appropriation bill have on residential construction costs and housing affordability in the ACT?

MS GALLAGHER: You have read the appropriation, have you, Mr Smyth?

Mr Smyth: Yes, I have.

MS GALLAGHER: That’s good. I am sure you have—every page, no doubt, knowing you. The appropriation is a very modest package, targeted to areas where there is emerging demand. We have been talking with industry around areas where local tradespeople were expressing concern about the amount of work. All the economic indicators at the moment, and the national economic indicators, would indicate that the cost of building and construction, including residential, is coming

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