Page 502 - Week 02 - Wednesday, 15 February 2017

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We consistently hold up when compared to our interstate counterparts both as a city and as a territory. A comparison with other states and territories across the commonwealth demonstrates that the ACT economy is solid. In the January 2017 state of the states CommSec report the ACT retained its spot as the third strongest performing economy in the country, the same as in October 2016, July 2016, and all the way back to January 2016.

One of the key factors contributing to this strong performance is our strong housing and construction market. A lot is being done to improve housing supply in this city. Not only are we seeing growth in our newest suburbs in Gungahlin and the Molonglo Valley but we are also seeing our town centres develop with more people living near businesses and transport.

We are also making the buying of houses easier through our phase-out of stamp duty, which the Liberals have opposed now at two elections. Stamp duty is often a prohibitive cost for first home buyers and its eventual abolition will remove a major barrier to home ownership in our city and indeed downsizing for older Canberrans as well. Just yesterday the government passed laws to ensure that stamp duty is paid after settlement, making the up-front costs of buying a home off the plan more affordable.

We know that people in Canberra are still confident about where our city is heading, with high levels of retail spending from confident consumers also contributing to our economy’s strong performance.

The number of businesses in our city is continuing to grow. According to data from the Australia Bureau of Statistics, the number of businesses in the ACT as of June 2015 was close to 26,000, with particularly large growth in the information, media and telecommunications sector as well as the healthcare and social assistance sectors. In addition, business credit applications grew by 6.1 per cent in the ACT through the year to the December 2016 quarter, business loan applications rose by 1.9 per cent, trade credit applications rose by 14.1 per cent and asset finance applications rose by 3.1 per cent over the same period.

This government is also working to help businesses through reforms to payroll tax. The payroll tax threshold has been increased, encouraging small business to employ more Canberrans, again, another measure opposed viciously by the Liberal Party at the last two elections.

Our government is working hard to ensure the business environment in Canberra encourages growth. Businesses know that the government here is stable and is looking to the future when it comes to our economic reforms and investments in infrastructure. ACT Labor has made Canberra a business-friendly city where our economy can thrive, a city where, despite the last round of federal government cuts, our economy continues to grow.

Like many Canberrans, I cringe when I remember the former ACT Liberal government’s plan to inspire confidence in Canberra by printing a decal on the nose of a tiny jet trainer with the slogan “Feel the power of Canberra”. So much has

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