Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2016 Week 01 Hansard (Tuesday, 13 December 2016) . . Page.. 45 ..
MR BARR: The answer to the first part of the question is no, and I would refer Mrs Jones to my previous answers.
Land Development Agency
MS LE COUTEUR: My question is to the Minister for Economic Development and relates to the Standing Committee on Planning, Environment and Territory and Municipal Services hearings in November 2015 and the subsequent Auditor-General’s report on Certain Land Development Agency Acquisitions, report 7, in 2016. In these hearings, the Deputy Chief Financial Officer and CEO of the LDA said that every acquisition under $5 million goes to the LDA board for approval, yet the Auditor-General’s report found to the contrary. Minister, can you explain this discrepancy?
MR BARR: I would refer the member to the comments from both the LDA board chair and the chief executive of the LDA contained within the auditor’s report.
MS LE COUTEUR: Minister, can you explain why only one formal valuation was obtained for the Glebe Park purchase?
MR BARR: Again, I would refer Ms Le Couteur to the detailed commentary contained within the Auditor-General’s report, including comments from the CEO and board chair of the LDA.
MR COE: Chief Minister, what declarations of interest were declared or undeclared by members of the agency regarding these acquisitions?
MR BARR: I would need to check the public record in relation to that matter.
MS CHEYNE: My question is to the Treasurer. Can the Treasurer update the Assembly on recent economic data and what this indicates for the ongoing strength of the ACT economy?
MR BARR: I thank Ms Cheyne for the question. I am very pleased to be able to advise the Assembly of a very strong performance in the last 12 months here in the territory. Our gross state product increased by 3.4 per cent. This was the second strongest growth rate of any state or territory, just a fraction behind that achieved by New South Wales. On the measure of state final demand, we saw the strongest growth of any state or territory in Australia, at 6.4 per cent over the past year.
I am pleased to advise the Assembly that Canberra now has the lowest unemployment rate of any Australian state or territory, at 3.4 per cent. Employment grew by a healthy 4½ thousand, or 2.1 per cent, which was well above the national average of slightly less than one per cent. Many of these jobs were in the private sector, which is a testament to the strength and diversity of the ACT economy.