Page 3596 - Week 12 - Tuesday, 22 October 2013

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thanks to our responsible and far-sighted economic stewardship. We have seen a recent series of reports which assess the economic performance of the states and territories rate the ACT as the second strongest economy in the country.

CommSec’s State of the states report that was released earlier this week said:

The ACT economy remains the second strongest economy, with the main strengths being dwelling starts, housing finance and population growth. The ACT is now the third strongest on business investment and fourth on economic growth.

In regard to the decade average population growth, the report states:

The actual leader in the rankings is the ACT. Annual population growth of 2.17 per cent is 43 per cent above normal.

That is a pretty good indicator that people want to live in the ACT and that this is an economy and a society that is attractive to people from interstate and from overseas.

The ACT has had a very strong result in housing. Finance commitments are 10.7 per cent above their decade average levels. Commitments in August of this year were 18.9 per cent higher than a year ago. Year on year, to August 2013, the value of individual investor commitments in the territory increased by 7.3 per cent.

There is further data from the ABS that reaffirms the strength of the territory economy. The latest dwelling commencement and building approvals data shows that residential construction activity is strong, with activity at high levels. The seasonally adjusted level of 1,671 dwelling commencements in the territory in the June quarter is significantly above the five-year quarterly average of 1,064 commencements per quarter and is above its level a year ago. The number of seasonally adjusted dwelling commencements in the June quarter 2013 is, in fact, the highest level the territory has seen since the boom in December 2010.

Building approvals in August 2013 reached a new record high and were significantly above the five-year average level. It is interesting to note the number of approvals, combined, of the Northern Territory and Tasmania for the same period did not reach the levels achieved in the ACT.

We continue to have the lowest unemployment rate of any jurisdiction in the country. The trend unemployment rate in the ACT for September 2013 was 4.1 per cent, well below the national average of 5.7 per cent. Our participation rate in trend terms is the second highest in the nation, at 71.7 per cent. Year on year, to September 2013, employment increased by 1.2 per cent. Given what the commonwealth government has been doing in the context of employment, that is quite a remarkable result.

State final demand in the territory has been holding up well. In the 12 months to the June quarter 2013 it increased by two per cent in original terms. Retail turnover, a pretty good indicator of what is happening out there in the real economy, was up 3.3 per cent in the territory, year on year, to August 2013. And that compares with a 2.4 per cent increase at the national level.

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