ACT credit rating upgraded as economy booms

Ian Bushnell 28 September 2018

The credit rating upgrade is a strong endorsement from S&P, says Chief Minister Andrew Barr. Photo: Supplied.

The ACT’s booming economy and low unemployment has won it an upgraded credit rating from rating agency Standard and Poor’s (S&P).

Chief Minister and Treasurer Andrew Barr said the upgrade to AAA with a stable outlook was the highest possible rating for any state and territory government and was another strong endorsement from the ratings agency.

He said the ACT had weathered years of Federal Government cuts to the Australian Public Service as well as the threat of losing jobs to the regions as part of the Commonwealth’s decentralisation push.

“Canberra currently has the lowest unemployment rate in the country and our Territory Budget has returned to surplus,” Mr Barr said.

“The strength of our economy has led to record job creation, with more jobs outside of the Federal public service in areas including tertiary education, research, IT and our booming hospitality and tourism industries.”

The ACT is also experiencing a construction boom, driven by the development of the light rail corridor and the densification of the town centres where high-rise apartment buildings are multiplying.

Mr Barr said that over the 12 months to August 2018, 2,100 new jobs had been created in the capital, attributing this to stable government.

He said the S&P rating was a strong testament to the ACT Government’s economic and fiscal management.

“According to S&P, the ratings ‘continue to be underpinned by the ACT’s strong financial management, high-income economy, and exceptional liquidity’,” Mr Barr said.

“The stable outlook reflects our expectation that the ACT government will continue to deliver on its priorities broadly within budget, while maintaining high liquidity coverage and containing its debt burden at a manageable level.

“The ACT Government will continue to deliver the services and infrastructure our growing city needs, while managing a strong economy to protect local jobs.”

Only Victoria and NSW share the ACT’s highest possible credit rating.

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