Page 3597 - Week 12 - Tuesday, 22 October 2013

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These are encouraging figures for the territory, and it is important to note that they have been achieved against a very challenging economic backdrop. There is no doubt that the commonwealth government’s contraction of jobs and spending has had a considerable impact on our economy. (Time expired.)

MADAM SPEAKER: A supplementary question, Ms Porter.

MS PORTER: Treasurer, what action is the government taking to support our economy?

MR BARR: We are taking a range of actions to support the territory economy. We recognise the challenge of the commonwealth government’s contraction, a slowdown in their economic activity, and what is happening in terms of the global economy. That will impact here in the ACT.

We are focusing on creating an economic environment in which all businesses can operate efficiently and effectively to generate new jobs and generate new business. There is a real focus on exports. This population of less than 400,000 in a country of only 25 million is not a big enough market for our businesses to grow. We must export. We must look beyond the territory and beyond Australia for our economic growth.

Our policy, though, is not to try and pick winners. Instead we focus on developing business across a range of sectors in the territory to help the private sector diversify and grow. The most critical thing we can do is ensure we have the simplest, fairest and most efficient tax system of any state or territory in the country. We are making significant progress towards that outcome.

The most recent budget continued our nation-leading taxation reforms. This included a significant cut in stamp duty for large commercial property transactions. It is already helping to attract new business and, importantly, new investment in the ACT commercial property market.

We are keen to continue to work in partnership with a number of industry associations to continue to build our tourism and education sectors. The 2013-14 budget contained a range of measures to support ongoing growth in these important areas, particularly the important job-creating areas of our economy.

MADAM SPEAKER: Supplementary question, Dr Bourke.

DR BOURKE: Treasurer, what action is the government taking to support particular sectors of our economy, notably the construction sector?

MR BARR: We do recognise the important contribution that the construction sector makes to the territory economy, around $2.6 billion with 25,000 people employed across the territory. It is the third largest employment sector in the ACT. We acknowledge the importance of the sector and we have taken a number of steps to stimulate activity.

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