Page 59 - Week 01 - Tuesday, 25 February 2014

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this morning, the Public Advocate is on record recognising the work that we have done. The Official Visitor is on record recognising the work we have done and the improvements we have made.

MADAM SPEAKER: Supplementary question, Mr Doszpot.

MR DOSZPOT: Minister, when are you going to start running this department in a way where we can be confident about the safety of our vulnerable children?

MS BURCH: I have confidence; my staff have confidence; the community have confidence.


MS PORTER: My question is to the Treasurer. Could the Treasurer update the Assembly on current economic conditions in the ACT?

MR BARR: I thank Ms Porter for the question. I am pleased to advise the Assembly that recent data on employment, economic growth, retail trade, population and housing remain very positive for the territory. Our gross state product rose by 2.7 per cent in real terms in the fiscal year 2012-13, which is above the national GDP growth rate in that same period of 2.6 per cent.

I am delighted to advise the Assembly that the ACT has the lowest unemployment rate of all Australian jurisdictions. Our trend unemployment rate is 3.8 per cent, which is well below the national rate. Incomes in the territory, Madam Speaker, remain the highest in the country. Gross household disposable income per capita in the fiscal year 2012-13 was $81,314, which is well above the national average of $44,347.

In the year ending 20 June 2013, the territory’s population rose by 8,258, an increase of 2.2 per cent, which is well above the national average. In the construction industry the number of building approvals increased by 27.3 per cent in original terms in the calendar year 2013. This was predominantly driven by apartments and townhouses.

The pick-up in building approvals is indicative of new dwelling investment, particularly in the coming fiscal year, with low interest rates and continuing population growth expected to drive continued investment in new homes. Leading indicators point to some renewed strength in investment in engineering construction to come through in the 2014-15 fiscal year.

In the export sector, ABS data shows that the territory’s exports of services in the 2012-13 fiscal year grew to $1.28 billion, a growth of 3.4 per cent on the previous year. Retail trade has remained strong. Retail turnover increased by 1.3 per cent in seasonally adjusted terms in December, with turnover of just under $420 million. Year on year to December 2013 retail turnover increased by 3.5 per cent in original terms.

These figures demonstrate the overall health of the ACT economy. However, the economic outlook for the territory has softened mainly due to the ongoing fiscal

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