Page 1064 - Week 03 - Wednesday, 30 March 2011

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MR SMYTH: Minister, will you apologise to the Assembly for misleading, and explain why it was that in an answer relating to your assertion that “I will never, ever tell a lie” you did in fact tell a lie?

MS GALLAGHER: I have not misled the Assembly, Mr Speaker.

MR SPEAKER: A supplementary, Mr Smyth?

MR SMYTH: Minister, will you now retract your statement made on 8 March 2011 that “I will never, ever, ever tell a lie … and I have often paid the price for being incredibly honest, but I will continue to do so, because it is the right thing to do”?

MS GALLAGHER: There is no need for me to withdraw any of my statements.

Construction activity

MR HARGREAVES: My question is to the Chief Minister. Chief Minister, this morning you released the latest Canberra construction snapshot. What does this say about the ACT economy?

MR STANHOPE: I thank Mr Hargreaves for the question, and I must say I was very pleased today to see the content of the latest Canberra construction snapshot. It reveals that construction activity in the ACT, which of course is a very important measure of the health of this particular economy, is increasing. Indeed, it is at historically high levels.

The snapshot reveals that in the ACT there is in the order of $7.3 billion of activity currently underway and, through an assessment of projects that we are aware of and developments that have been foreshadowed, there is in the order of just over $10 billion worth of construction activity forecast into the future. These are very good signs of just how robust that particular sector of our economy is, and the consequent reflection of the strength of that through construction in our overall economic strength.

The indicators at the moment in relation to our economy really are quite remarkable. The ACT, over almost this last year, has been able to boast—

Members interjecting—

MR SPEAKER: Order! Chief Minister, one moment. Mr Hanson, Ms Gallagher, please take the conversation outside if you wish to continue it. The Chief Minister is answering a question.

MR STANHOPE: All of the indicators that are current in relation to the ACT, including, of course, the headline assessment most particularly by CommSec that we do enjoy the strongest economy in Australia, are supported by a very stable and very low trend unemployment rate at now just 3.5 per cent, extremely high participation rates at 73 per cent, a participation rate that is in the order of eight per cent above the

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