Page 1976 - Week 06 - Wednesday, 6 May 2009

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noise implications, of an expanded, 24-hour airport operation. It is a conversation or a discussion that we do need to have in the context of the various elements of any policy decision that needs to be taken, balancing economic with environment or social needs, delivering genuine triple-bottom-line outcomes in relation to policy initiatives.

The economic importance of the airport to Canberra cannot be understated. The environmental issues or implications of an expanded or enhanced airport operation cannot be denied, but it is important that we balance the economic implications with the social and the environmental implications, and I would hope that the discussion that we have in this place and that we have in the broader community will be mindful of the economic importance of the airport and its operations, whilst of course having due and appropriate, measured and proportionate regard for the social and environmental implications of any expansion of operations at the airport.

Budget—retail sales

MR SMYTH: My question is to the Treasurer. Treasurer, on page 134 of budget paper No 3 that you released yesterday you said that growth in household consumption expenditure in the ACT is expected to improve. This morning the Australian Bureau of Statistics released retail sales data for March 2009. For the information of members, the ACT was the only jurisdiction in Australia to record a decline in seasonally adjusted retail sales in March. Treasurer, why was the ACT the only jurisdiction in Australia to report a decline in seasonally adjusted retail sales in March?

MS GALLAGHER: I have not seen those figures that you are talking about, mainly because I have been in meetings, talking about the budget since yesterday afternoon.

Mr Smyth: So have we.

MS GALLAGHER: I did not see you at the one at lunch time, Brendan. Perhaps you were there in spirit. You have asked me two different questions, though. The growth in household consumption expenditure—on page 134—is expected to improve in 2009. The reason that we have forecast that into our figures is lower interest rates and lower inflation, the relative job security in the ACT and our relatively high disposable income.

Mr Smyth: I have read all that.


Mr Smyth: Why does it continue?

MS GALLAGHER: That relates to the budget. Are you saying that that is wrong to have that data in there?

Mr Smyth: No.

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