Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2016 Week 01 Hansard (Wednesday, 14 December 2016) . . Page.. 122 ..
MS LE COUTEUR (Murrumbidgee) (11.10): I agree it is great that we have so much time to discuss the ACT budget and have possibly a slightly broader discussion than before. The Greens will be supporting this motion, but in my speech I will note some different views about it.
Yes, clearly we agree that the economy performs strongly in the challenging national and international environment, and we remain very pleased that the ACT government has used the territory budget to support the local economy and, in particular, to support jobs. I think the Assembly is unanimously agreed that jobs are a very important thing for all of us.
But I will talk a bit more about (1)(c)(i), which says:
growth in economic activity, as measured by State Final Demand … was the highest in the nation, growing at an annual rate of 6.4 per cent …
This is where we need to look carefully at what we are measuring, what it is actually achieving for the people of Canberra and how sustainable it is.
The small audience that I had last night for my adjournment speech will have heard that I noted that the average person in the ACT uses resources which would take 6.9 global hectares to produce. There is a concept of a sort of average hectare of land over the world, and there are people who study how many resources people use and how large a space is required. The ACT figure was 8.9 hectares for the average ACT resident in 2011-12. I will note that that will go slightly down by 2020, one hopes, because 20 per cent of that was down to energy consumption, and clearly, with the ACT’s 100 per cent renewable electricity, that will be reduced. However, that is 3½ times the world average.
Probably even more concerningly, if everyone in the world had the same consumption patterns as the people in the ACT, we would need somehow to have five worlds. We do not have five worlds; we only have one. It is really important that our economy is changed so that we do not require five worlds to support us, because we do not have them. The bottom line is that we have a finite world and we need to adjust how our economy grows and changes to live within the limitations of a finite world.
As I mentioned before, I am very pleased that we are supporting jobs and very pleased that the ACT’s unemployment rate is the lowest in the nation, at 3.4 per cent. Also, of course, the Greens have been supporters of taxation reform and some of the taxes that have been abolished: the insurance taxes, which you would have to agree was a totally good thing to do, and removing stamp duty, which, in the long run, should lead to more equitable taxation.
In terms of the things that this motion calls on the ACT government to do, we are in agreement. As I said, we support full employment, point (3)(a). We certainly support funding for the world-class services that Canberrans deserve and expect, particularly in education and health. The one I am probably most in support of is to continue to support vulnerable Canberrans. Some 2,000 people in Canberra on an average night