Page 1446 - Week 05 - Tuesday, 9 May 2017

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highlighted in the letter that this meeting responded to—they are historical—have already been addressed.

I have sought from property group a detailed breakdown of when issues were raised and the response time to those. I am happy to share some of that information when I receive it. My understanding is that as issues are raised they are addressed.

MR WALL: Minister, if the Greenway property that will be displayed for Gugan is not fit for purpose and fails to meet their requirements, what steps will you and the department be taking to prioritise adequate accommodation for Gugan?

MS STEPHEN-SMITH: Thank you for the supplementary question. I hope that the Greenway property will be appropriate. There have been a number of discussions between Gugan and the property group over the past few years about different properties that did not meet Gugan’s needs, unfortunately. We will, obviously, continue to make this a priority and continue to have those conversations if the Greenway property is not suitable.


MS ORR: My question is to the Chief Minister. The most important factor for creating and maintaining good, secure jobs is a strong economy. What does the recent data show about the ACT’s economic performance?

MR BARR: I thank Ms Orr for the question. I am pleased to be able to advise the Assembly that recent data shows that the territory economy continues to gather strength, at a time when other state and territory economies around the country are slowing or even going backwards. State final demand in the territory grew by 7.3 per cent over the course of 2016. That was the second strongest growth rate of any jurisdiction in the country. I am pleased that unemployment is low, at 3.7 per cent, the second lowest rate of any jurisdiction in the country and well below the national average of 5.9 per cent.

Jobs growth was 1.9 per cent in the year to March, well above the national average, meaning that an additional 4,100 fellow Canberrans were employed through jobs growth creation in that period. Jobs are, of course, a key indicator, and the strength of the labour market is a key indicator, of how our economy is performing. But there are other indicators, such as business confidence. The latest figures show that territory businesses were the most confident in the country, with the share of businesses with a positive outlook leaping from 40 per cent to 64 percent over the year to March.

Commencements of new dwellings have more than doubled over the course of 2016, obviously contributing to economic activity, but also increasing supply to assist with housing affordability. Much of the strengthening of the economy has been visible in the private sector, including our rapidly expanding university sector, construction and retail trade—retail trade figures, again, very positive today—strongly supported, of course, by the territory government’s record $2.9 billion investment in infrastructure.

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