Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2017 Week 02 Hansard (Wednesday, 15 February 2017) . . Page.. 508 ..
speech as a shadow minister. That reflects the results in this election, the previous election, the election before that, the election before that, and even the election before that.
MR BARR: Having just comprehensively won an election against a party who had the same sorts of interjections—
Mr Hanson: Did well in Tuggeranong.
MR BARR: A six per cent swing against you in Tuggeranong. Maybe that is because you are not as popular as Brendan Smyth. There is a comparison, Mr Assistant Speaker. But I digress.
The subject of today’s debate is economic diversification and growth. We have seen some remarkably strong figures for the territory in recent times. It is worth reminding this place of those figures. Our gross state product increased by 3.4 per cent. As I have mentioned here a few times, there has been a lot of debate in this chamber and in the community over the past few years about how things are tripling. I can absolutely confirm for everyone that the rate of economic growth in the territory is the one thing that has tripled in the past three years.
We have seen growth in state final demand. We have seen over the past 12 months a 10 per cent increase in private investment in the territory economy. This is a very encouraging figure. The ABS data after the September quarter 2016 saw through the year a 10 per cent increase in private investment, a major contributor to state final demand growth.
Importantly, a lot of that investment has been sourced from outside the ACT. Why is this important? This goes directly to the point I was making in 2015—that our economy is too small. We do not have enough capital inside the ACT to support our economic growth long term. Canberra and the ACT, like Australia, is a net importer of capital. It will always be that way. That is not a commentary on the capacity within the local economy; it is just a statement of fact about small economies.
We are two per cent of Australia’s economy. Australia is around two per cent of the world economy. We are net importers of capital. We will always need to be. That is part of being an open trading economy. One of our great virtues is that we are an investment destination for Australian companies and international companies. That is exemplified in recent times by announcements from companies as diverse as Singapore Airlines, IKEA and Qatar Airways, amongst others. Large institutional investors out of South-East Asia have been purchasing major investments in the territory. I point to the recent $330 million sale of a 50 per cent share of the Woden plaza to a Western Australian based investor.
So we are a net importer of capital. That is a good thing. I repeat: that is a good thing. But we need that capital in order to increase our rate of economic growth and to diversify our economy. So the statements I made in 2015 I repeat now: we will always