Page 681 - Week 03 - Tuesday, 17 March 2015

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Growth, Diversification and Jobs—A Business Development Strategy for the ACT—

Implementation Report to the Legislative Assembly—Ministerial statement, 17 March 2015.

2015 Implementation Report.

I move:

That the Assembly takes note of the papers.

MR SMYTH (Brindabella) (10.34): This ministerial statement presented today is interesting. It is a document that was launched in August 2012 and reported on a year later, in September 2013. It seems a long time between then and now for the government to accumulate the sorts of things they want to put into a statement to prove they are doing something.

The minister quotes facts and the minister tells a reasonable story. But what he does not go to is the true state of business in the ACT, as evidenced in three recent reports: the State of the states report, where the economy dropped from one to eight—and it is now back up to six; the Sensis report, which saw a 42 per cent drop in business confidence in the policies of this government; and a couple of tourism reports that have come out recently where, on just about every indicator, against the trend around the country, tourism dollar values have dropped in the territory. This is the work of this government.

They are the things that this minister refuses to acknowledge. They are the facts that this Chief Minister did not put on the table today. You would question why that is so. It is because the government do not get business as they claim to. It was interesting. There was a lot of “I”, “me” and “I will” in the speech, rather than what the business community is telling him. For instance, he has not listened to their advice on planning.

The business community are scratching their heads. Due to the need for the government to get their planning reforms through, the government is willing to pass legislation to allow projects like light rail, development at UC and Mr Fluffy housing to have special consideration. If it is that hard for the government to get their projects through their planning regulations, perhaps they should change the regulations for everyone so that there is a level playing field out there. That is the problem with the government: they are only interested in themselves.

In respect of the minister’s interest in reform, he makes the point: “We are leveraging on our land advantage and infrastructure to transform Canberra into a dynamic, creative city of the future that is the preferred location for people to work, live and visit.” I hear and see lots of adjectives, but I do not actually see the action to back that up.

It is interesting to note the situation on leveraging our land advantage. Our land advantage, as far as the government are concerned, is to sell another block of land to

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