The Liberals’ Brendan Smyth is taking Andrew Barr to task over the latest economic numbers:
The latest State of the States report released today by CommSec has highlighted the slipping state of the ACT economy and demonstrates ACT Labor’s irresponsible economic management over the past 11 years, Shadow Treasurer Brendan Smyth said today.
“Today’s report shows the ACT is missing out on essential business investment while the ‘eyes of the economy’, the retail sector is also getting weaker. Construction work in the ACT is more than 16 percent below the decade average and only Tasmania is faring worse in the annual economic growth stakes,” Mr Smyth said.
“When the Canberra Liberals left office, private sector employment was around 60 percent, while under ACT Labor it’s shrunk to around 49 percent. This means the Canberra economy’s ability to weather changes in public sector employment is diminished.
“The ACT government has to be held accountable for the deterioration in business investment because ACT Labor has taken no steps to diversify the Territory economy.
“Andrew Barr can’t blame the federal government for worsening business investment and a sluggish retail trade when ACT Labor has underspent on necessary infrastructure and has failed to take any effective steps to encourage diversification in the ACT economy.
“The ACT is missing out on near record equipment investment. While Queensland and Western Australia are 27 and 24.6 percent above decade average levels in the September quarter respectively, the ACT is only up 1 percent.
Without wanting to do Andrew Barr’s work for him there are a few problems here.
Over the last 11 years Canberra’s had a boom in public sector employment. While not good for the city’s general economy it’s not something we had much say in.
When the real estate market is running white hot and people unable to file alphabetically can get cushy jobs in the public service what sort of business would choose to open up in Canberra? (Aside from those seeking to take advantage of lax regulation which is sub-optimal)
Does Brendan propose we start a major mining industry in the ACT to get our equipment investment levels up to Queensland and WA levels?
Frankly I worry Andrew Barr is spending too much money on counter-cyclical development spending (from a City Government no less).