Page 124 - Week 01 - Wednesday, 14 December 2016
the GDP going up. And clearly quite a lot of them thought that the world was, in fact, getting worse.
We need to start looking more closely at what people really want, and it is not just more things. One of the statistics I will quote to you is this. In looking at it from a health point of view, loneliness has been calculated to be as bad for our health as smoking 15 cigarettes a day. That is pretty horrible. We have major government campaigns telling us, “Do not smoke.” We tax. We have ads on every cigarette box saying, “Do not consume this.” But we do not put the same sort of effort into creating a society where people are not lonely. It is something you can see. We all know we are happier with friends and family, and it affects our lifespan. These are the sort of things that I would like to see us pay more attention to rather than just looking at our material consumption. There are other things, like our diet. We know that if we ate more fruit and vegetables we would be healthier and thus happier. It would even cost the economy less, cost the government’s budget less, because we would not spend so much time in hospital.
Basically, as I said, the Greens are in support of Ms Cody’s motion. We just think it has a narrow view of the ACT economy, and we would like to see a wider view, with this Assembly looking at what is, in the long run, sustainable for Canberra and what is, in the long run, going to make the people of Canberra happier and healthier.
MR BARR (Kurrajong—Chief Minister, Treasurer, Minister for Economic Development and Minister for Tourism and Major Events) (11.21): I thank Ms Cody for putting this motion before the Assembly today. It will come as no great surprise that the government will be supporting Ms Cody’s motion.
I want to focus my comments today on the areas of the territory economy that are performing above the national average. We have had some discussion this morning in relation to both state final demand and gross state product as aggregate measures of the performance of the economy. On both of those measures, we are leading the nation or, in the case of gross state product, coming a close second to New South Wales. We are well above the national average.
These broad measures aggregate what is happening in a range of different sectors of the territory economy. I think it is important to drill down, to have a look at what are the factors that are underpinning both a more diverse territory economy and those areas that are driving increased employment.
We have seen employment growth in the territory much stronger than we have experienced in recent years, and certainly employment is growing faster than in the rest of the nation. Importantly, in the ACT, overwhelmingly that jobs growth has been in full-time secure work as opposed to the part-time casual work that we are seeing as a growing trend in other parts of the country. This is not only important for the stability of household budgets. In the longer term, when looking at the health of the territory economy, it is important that these full-time secure jobs that are being created are more sustainable in the long term and are in sectors of the ACT economy that are more nationally and internationally exposed.