Page 1048 - Week 04 - Tuesday, 24 March 2015

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Discussion of matter of public importance

MADAM SPEAKER: I have received letters from Dr Bourke, Mr Coe, Mr Doszpot, Ms Fitzharris, Mr Hanson, Ms Lawder, Ms Porter and Mr Smyth proposing matters of public importance be submitted to the Assembly. In accordance with standing order 79, I have determined that the matter proposed by Ms Fitzharris be submitted to the Assembly, namely:

The importance of investor confidence in the ACT.

MS FITZHARRIS (Molonglo) (3.36): Investor confidence is vital in any economy. In many ways it is most important to smaller economies. It is a simple fact that Canberra, despite its national significance and the affection everyone in this place has for it, is a small city. Our population is around two per cent of the national population and, just as we are a small city, so too is Australia a small country, with just two per cent of the world’s population.

I think it should be obvious to everyone here that we cannot maintain the economy we need to remain the most livable city in the world by looking inward. We are too small for that. Canberra simply must look outward to maintain its economic growth into the future—outward to find markets for the goods and services we produce and outward to find the investment we need to continue to grow.

I do not think it is possible for me to overstate how important investment from outside our borders is to driving our economic growth. The territory as a whole exports something like $1.2 billion in services per annum. We export more proportionately for our economy’s size. We rely on this trade and the confidence investors have in us to support our economy.

Across the three years from 2010-11 to 2012-13 inclusive we had proposed investments in ACT real estate alone worth $3.04 billion. Nearly half a billion dollars of this proposed investment related to new developments in the ACT, creating hundreds of construction jobs across each of those years.

Canberra does not just compete for this investment with other cities and states in Australia; we compete for capital in a global market with an ever-increasing range of choices for investors. In an environment of fierce competition one of the most important things investors look for is the level of confidence they can have in the market—confidence in the local economy, but, just as importantly, confidence in the consistency of government policies and decision making.

Government activities and investor confidence are inextricably linked. The ACT’s moderate debt burden is, of course, funded by investors. Without these investors we would not be able to respond to challenges like the federal government’s attacks on our economy in a timely and effective way.

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