Page 5211 - Week 14 - Wednesday, 29 November 2017
a minority of Canberrans. But when we look at the result across every city in this country, this city, Canberra, voted yes overwhelmingly; a stronger yes vote than any other city. Whilst there were pockets within Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane that recorded a slightly higher yes vote, for cities as a whole the yes vote in Canberra was overwhelmingly the strongest yes vote in the country.
That reflects the progressive outlook of this city and it reflects that the ACT government has been correct all the way through this journey, over more than a decade now, to be pursuing the very clear position of the overwhelming majority of Canberrans on this issue. It will be a major, major breakthrough in this country when, before Christmas this year, the progressive members of the Australian parliament across multiple parties—Labor, Liberals, Nationals, Greens, independent and others represented across the House of Representatives and the Senate—vote, as they have been doing this week, overwhelmingly in favour of what the Australian people emphatically said just a few weeks ago.
Canberra’s role in leading that debate in this nation has been significant and it stands as one of the most significant areas of social change this city has led in this nation in Canberra’s history. It is a result people will remember for generations. I predict that over the coming decades it will be harder and harder to find anyone who freely admits that they voted no.
In what was a great week of statistical releases from the Australian Bureau of Statistics, we have also seen our city record the lowest unemployment rate in the nation, amongst the fastest growth in jobs in our city in recent times, rebounding very strongly from the Abbott government era, and, finally, in terms of economic data, the 2016-17 gross state product information, which showed that the ACT has the fastest growing economy of any of the states or territories.
It was particularly pleasing to see where this growth is coming from. Professional, scientific and technical services grew by 34 per cent in 2016-17, showing that companies in areas like defence, the space industry, cyber and ICT are thriving. But we have also seen diverse growth across the broadest range of non-public sector areas of the territory economy. We have seen full-time job growth very strong, with 6,700 new jobs created. We now have an all-time record number of Canberrans in employment. This is a significant priority for the ACT government and is something we have been focused on for an extended period of time.
I have noted in previous debates that the unemployment rate in this city is always lower when there is a Labor government. During the time this government has been in office it has been consistently lower than during the times when there has been a Liberal administration in the ACT. That is over a 30-year period and is a clear demonstration of our commitment to support jobs growth and to support secure jobs in our economy.
We are delighted, of course, with the recent announcement from Lonely Planet about Canberra’s tourism credentials. We have just witnessed an all-time record in the history of Canberra: the most number of people, both Australians and international visitors, visiting our city. This is important because it is supporting about