Comrades, according to the latest round of statistics, we are living in Nirvana. Although, ‘Nirvana’ sounds like it could be a little boring, ‘Nirvana’ means ‘blowing out’ and is described, in the Buddhist tradition, as ‘the extinguishing of the fires that cause rebirths and associated suffering’.
I think, maybe, the current round of ACT statistics might better reflect Canberra’s ‘Age of Enlightenment’. The ‘Age of Enlightenment’ was an intellectual and philosophical, and then scientific movement, in Europe during the 18th Century.
But, I digress. The latest round of statistics are astounding… almost unbelievable.
Where to start? Okay, how about ABS statistics showing the ACT economy grew by 4.6 per cent in 2016-17 and that employment grew by 4.7 per cent. Although excellent figures, this ‘bush economist’ might proffer that this is a tad unsustainable without major policy changes in the ACT.
I mean, for a start, how will this rapid growth impact on house prices, wage inflation and the availability of labour? Is this level of growth sustainable or is it part of a boom and bust cycle?
What about Tourism Research Australia’s statistics that show that tourism’s contribution to the ACT has grown by 9.4 per cent to $1.1 billion and $1.1 billion in indirect tourism? Wow! But wait, what pressure is this putting on our already strained infrastructure? Once they’ve seen Braddon and Kingston Foreshore – what else do we have to offer? Of course there is the Casino… and hang on, don’t we have a lack of 5 star accommodation… and an inadequate conference centre…? And don’t start me on signage and general amenity of the place… and the minimalist marketing of Canberra as CBR…
It is interesting to note that if you Google ‘What does CBR stand for?’, you get a page and a half of references relating to Cross Beam Racer… then one reference half way down page two to ‘Canberra’ and then another on the bottom of page three…
Also, according to our Chief Minister, service exports have grown by a mind blowing 24.4 per cent in the past year. So, either this is from a staggeringly low base, or it is a miracle.
I contacted the Chief Minister’s office to find out some more detail about these ‘amazing’ figures – what they were made up of and what was the ‘secret sauce’ that had led to this massive jump… and was told ‘yes, it’s amazing, it’s a great story’… but when I asked for detail, no answers were forthcoming, and promises of someone from ACT Government giving me a call to explain the 24.4 per cent increase, were given… crickets… crickets…
In the meantime, I had a look at the Australian Government Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade Australian Capital Territory Trade Resources Document. A most fascinating document… and as far as I could decipher, the biggest load of nonsensical rubbish I have seen in a long time.
Here are some fun facts from this document compiled by the Statistics Section of DFAT using latest published Australian Bureau of Statistics data (Based on DFAT STARS database and ABS catalogues 3101.0, 5220.0, 5368.0, 5368.0.55.003/4 and 6202.0):
Switzerland was the ACT’s major goods export destination, amounting to $19.74 million in 2016-17, followed by:
- Hong Kong (SAR of China) $620,000; and
- Belgium $6,000.
Switzerland was also the ACT’s major goods import source, amounting to $3.1 million in 2016-17, followed by:
- United States – $2.18 million;
- Canada – $1.07 million;
- Papua New Guinea – $794,000; and
- Germany – $544,000.
Oh, and my favourite from this most eye-popping document:
The ACT’s major goods export from the ACT in 2016-17 was… wait for it… Gold coin & legal tender coin worth $20.4 million – not closely followed by $6,000 of ‘plastic articles’…
I’m so glad I live in an ‘Age of Enlightenment’ (or is that ‘entitlement’?) in the People’s Republic of the ACT, and that the statistics, so readily supplied by our leaders, continue to show staggering growth and prosperity for all… just don’t dare look out the window… Namaste.
Do you believe growth is essential to Canberra’s ongoing prosperity or should we be looking to other measurables to gauge our success?