Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2017 Week 06 Hansard (Thursday, 8 June 2017) . . Page.. 2118 ..
justice. Justice, as I have said before, is only truly justice when it is accessible, when it is transparent and when it is timely. This year’s budget certainly reflects a focus on access to the legal system and ensuring especially that access for vulnerable members of our community.
As just one example, I can proudly say that the budget provides an extra $1.239 million over four years towards the base funding cost for the Legal Aid Commission. That will help them to meet the demand for services that exist there. Resourcing for legal aid ensures that people who need legal representation and who are not able to afford a lawyer have help when they are before the courts.
In addition, this particular budget also delivers for the community legal centres, which we have spoken about, and that I have advocated strongly for. The CLCs will get an additional $2.477 million over the coming four years to continue providing help to those people who need it most. That help might be when there is a dispute with Centrelink, when there is a letter sent and Centrelink does not get the information right, as has been the case. It is important to be able to write a letter back, and the community legal centres can help with that. It might be about negotiating a payment plan with a landlord in relation to settling unpaid rent. There is a range of legal remedies, and it is important for people to be able to have access to justice.
This budget helps to create and develop a justice system that is more accessible to those who need the protection of our justice system. It is yet another way that the government is delivering on its commitments and ensuring that we have a community that is protected, that is safe and is secure.
MR STEEL: My question is to the Chief Minister. Chief Minister, how will the 2017 budget strengthen Canberra’s economy and help create more good, local jobs?
MR BARR: I thank Mr Steel for the question. The government continues its efforts to support economic growth and jobs growth in the city, and we are delighted that our economic growth in this financial year is expected to hit 3¼ per cent. This is much stronger than has been experienced across the rest of the nation, where growth is expected to be, at a national level, around 1¾ per cent in 2016-17.
One of the reasons the ACT economy is growing so strongly is that it is more diverse and export oriented than ever before. I am please to advise the Assembly that between 2010-11 and 2015-16, the territory’s service exports grew by over 65 per cent. This is far and away the fastest rate of growth of service exports of any state or territory in Australia. Our city represents 1.6 per cent of Australia’s national population, but we are now generating 2.5 per cent of Australia’s service exports. This is a tremendous result. Exports have grown from $1 billion to $1.7 billion over the period I referred to earlier, driven particularly by growth in our higher education sector, in tourism, in technical and professional services, in research and development and in the export of government services.