Page 126 - Week 01 - Wednesday, 14 December 2016

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services in the Southern Hemisphere, and through the various free trade agreements that have been struck by both sides of federal politics over the last 15 years we now have access to the market for government services in some of the world’s largest economies. For example the United States market for government services is larger than the Australian economy. It is an extraordinary opportunity for us to continue to see ACT businesses do a great job in providing services to the Australian government in a wide variety of areas, from defence and national security to cyber security, the business of government administration. This is something that this city specialises in. We were established for this very purpose.

Whilst we have had some commentary from the Leader of the Opposition deriding the role of the public sector, both in our economy locally and in the Australian economy nationally, I think it is important to acknowledge that we are international best practice. When it comes to public administration—what happens here in Canberra, and the sorts of services that are delivered by this government and by the Australian government—the people of Canberra and the people of Australia are international best practice. The export of those services and the companies that support government in providing those services is an amazing economic development opportunity for our city, particularly when you think of the internet of everything, the digitisation of so many government services. That transition that is occurring here and nationally is also occurring internationally, and there is an amazing array of market opportunities for us. That indicates to us that the current economic development strategies are the correct ones, and we continue to focus our efforts as a government, particularly in the economic development sphere, on supporting our exporters.

The Leader of the Opposition made one other remark that I do need to contest in relation to the government’s economy policy settings and their alleged impact on private investment in housing. When you look at the components of state final demand for the September quarter, you see that private investment increased over the year by 10 per cent, but what was in fact driving that growth in private investment was a 39 per cent increase over the last 12 months in private investment in dwellings, new and used.

What we are seeing in a growing economy, an economy growing by 6.4 per cent as measured by state final demand, is that a big contributor to that 6.4 per cent growth was a 39 per cent increase in investment in housing, private investment in housing. For the Leader of the Opposition to be suggesting in his remarks that somehow there is some sort of capital strife, that the government’s policy settings are driving away private investment in housing in Canberra, is factually incorrect. The details of that—a 39 per cent increase in the last 12 months; a 97 per cent increase in building approvals—demonstrate that private investment is coming. I commend Ms Cody’s motion to the Assembly.

MS FITZHARRIS (Yerrabi—Minister for Health, Minister for Transport and City Services and Minister for Higher Education, Training and Research) (11:31): I have pleasure in rising today to speak in favour of this motion, not least because it is Ms Cody’s first motion in the Assembly. Congratulations to her. I will make a brief reflection on some comments both in this debate and the previous one about the role of government in the economy. We heard yesterday various views from different new

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