Page 143 - Week 01 - Wednesday, 11 February 2015
are recycling through it. It is Tony Abbott and Joe Hockey. If you want that, that is the Liberal Party brand; that is what you will get. That is what Jeremy Hanson and Brendan Smyth would deliver for the people of Canberra. If the people of Canberra want that, if they want that economic approach, they will have the opportunity to vote for it in a couple of years.
We are going to contrast our approach with what we have seen from state Liberal governments and from the federal Liberal government. We are going to support this economy, we are going to support jobs, we are going to support new investment and we are going to back our own entrepreneurs, our own innovation and those areas of the ACT economy that continue to grow rapidly.
That is why the agenda I announced for the government yesterday includes a number of important legislative reforms that will unlock significant new investment and opportunities for Canberra, not least of which are the University of Canberra reform bills, which will unlock nearly $1 billion worth of new investment in that campus. That will provide not only some fantastic new amenities for Canberrans in terms of health services and the like that will be located on the university campus but also significant export earning potential for the university as it attracts more international students and researchers and more national level students and researchers. That is an important growth area for the territory.
We continue to see strength in our export sectors. That is only going to grow. The recent devaluation of the Australian dollar is certainly helping those areas of our economy that are exposed to currency fluctuations. The recent reduction in interest rates, reflecting the state of the national economy, also provides a benefit for Canberra households, as there are, as I understand, slightly above the national average of mortgagees, mortgage holders, in the ACT than nationally. That benefit of a reduced interest rate on home loans will be passed through. The banks are putting this into the pockets of Canberra households. In the last six months, we have seen six consecutive increases in retail spending. Indeed, the December figures for the ACT were quite encouraging.
The momentum needs to be maintained into 2015. There is no doubt that the federal budget—what happens in the federal budget and what happens in the Senate in terms of a number of measures that are currently before the Senate—will have a significant impact on consumer confidence. If Canberra households are slugged with massive increases in higher education fees and if Canberra households are slugged with a GP tax, that will undoubtedly impact on the level of discretionary spending and certainly will impact on consumer confidence. I hope the Senate will block those measures. I hope there is a change of heart and that the good government that started yesterday under Prime Minister Abbott will continue. (Time expired.)
MR HANSON (Molonglo—Leader of the Opposition) (11.55): I firstly congratulate the shadow treasurer, Mr Smyth, for bringing this motion before the Assembly today. Discussion about our economy and about our budget is always front and centre for the Canberra Liberals. We will not be supporting the amendments put forward by the Treasurer. To be honest, it must be pretty embarrassing for Andrew Barr.