Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2017 Week 10 Hansard (Wednesday, 13 September 2017) . . Page.. 3593 ..
10 basis points. For every $100 million that we borrow, that can mean between $50,000 and $100,000 saved annually on that interest bill.
We are one of only three AAA-rated states or territories in this country. I think this is an important point to make in this context: the ACT, New South Wales and Victoria have a AAA credit rating, and other states and territories do not, largely as a result of decisions they have taken in their own budgets. It is not automatic that, because the Australian government has a particular credit rating, every state and territory has the same credit rating. We cannot have a higher credit rating, but we can certainly have a lower credit rating than the Australian government. And there are just 26 sub-national jurisdictions in the world, outside of the US, that hold this highest possible credit rating. It helps the government to attract more business to Canberra from interstate and from overseas, and that helps in the continued diversification of the economy.
We have had a lot of wins in recent times in attracting that new investment into the city. Examples are Singapore Airlines, Qatar Airways, the recent announcement from Microsoft, and the University of New South Wales looking to expand its footprint in Canberra. Our AAA credit rating is a clear signal to those investors, and to thousands of others in this country and around the world, that Canberra has a stable and growing economy, strong public finances and, importantly, a clear pipeline of public infrastructure investment supported by sensible and manageable borrowing.
Looking ahead, Standard & Poor’s have confirmed that our budget plans are credible, that our infrastructure delivery plans are credible, and that the risks to the ACT predominantly lie in the policy decisions of the commonwealth government. I can assure the Assembly that the ACT government will continue to focus on delivering budgets consistent with the AAA credit rating, because we understand that stable, prudent and responsible financial management delivers real and practical benefits for the Canberra community. I commend the motion to the Assembly.
MS CODY (Murrumbidgee) (10.46): I would like to thank Mr Steel for bringing this motion on. How good is this? We have kept our AAA credit rating. I remember when a very big deal used to be made of a AAA credit rating. When one of my friends pointed out the reporting to me the other day, it did not seem as big a deal as it used to be. I think it is because Canberra people have got used to the smart fiscal management of Mr Barr.
While I am glad of their confidence, I think it still deserves some celebrating. I took the time to look up the report by Standard & Poor’s. They pointed out that the government has successfully addressed a number of challenges, including the global financial crisis in 2008-09 and commonwealth government fiscal consolidation. That is about as big a compliment as money people can hand out. And it is a big contrast, too: a contrast to the last time the Liberals were in power in the ACT.
I know a lot of people cannot remember back then; it was a very long time ago. But I remember. I remember what happened when the Liberals were in government in this place and John Howard ripped the guts out of the local economy. It is not hard to remember what the Canberra Liberals did. They did nothing. They let the economy fall apart. Not only were there tens of thousands of federal public servants laid off, but