Page 317 - Week 01 - Thursday, 11 February 2010

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MR SPEAKER: Ms Le Couteur, a supplementary question?

MS LE COUTEUR: Once they are informed, what action does the chief executive officer, as the territory parent, take if there is a suspension or expulsion?

MS BURCH: It depends on the level of suspension, the purpose of suspension and what foster or carer arrangements are in place. Again, it is not one size fits all. Because we take the welfare of children in care as a priority, rest assured that it is not a simple tick and flick and then put to the side. Action, and appropriate action, will be taken.


MS PORTER: Thank you, Mr Speaker. My question, through you, is to the Treasurer. Can the Treasurer advise the Assembly of the state of the ACT economy, given the better-than-expected national economic performance so far during the global economic downturn?

MS GALLAGHER: I thank Ms Porter for the question. It is appropriate just prior to tabling the budget review—which I will do after question time—that we do have a look at how the world events have unfolded and the impacts they have had not just in the ACT but in Australia. As members would be aware, the recent global economic growth forecasts by the IMF as reflected in its January economic outlook saw an updated revision to 3.9 per cent in 2010. This reflects the extraordinary amount of monetary and fiscal policy stimulus and the success of those combined measures.

Consistent with the improved global outlook, the IMF has revised its forecast for Australian growth upwards to 2.5 per cent in 2010, while growth is expected to be three per cent in 2011. The IMF stated that Australia was the only advanced economy to record positive growth in 2009 of one per cent. The IMF acknowledged this better-than-expected performance, especially in the labour market, to be a combination of timely and effective government policy in response to the crisis, high demand for our commodities, which continues from China, and a healthy banking sector.

The improved global and national economic outlook is expected to have a positive impact on the ACT economy and has led to a reduction in the downside risks for the economy. We have seen across Australia an improvement in consumer and business confidence, a stabilisation in wealth levels as equity and housing markets have recovered and resilience in housing market activity led by the commonwealth government’s boost to the first home owner grants program and underpinned by a relatively low interest rate environment.

Despite the negative impacts of the GFC, the ACT economy as measured by state final demand managed to grow in 2008-09, increasing by a modest 0.4 per cent. This is very low and is well below the long-run average. It had come off the strong double-digit growth which peaked, I think, in 2006-07 at 11.8 per cent, and it should be seen in the context of previous high interest rates and consumer prices in 2007-08 and, of course, the GFC in 2008-09.

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