Retail figures latest indicator to back govt’s economic agenda

Released 03/06/2016

Canberra’s retail sector is leading the nation according the latest figures from the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS).

This encouraging news is the latest in a series of independent indicators that show our efforts to keep the economy moving in the face of brutal Commonwealth cuts have worked. Earlier in the week we learned exports were up and the ABS revealed our economy had the strongest growth in the nation.

New Retail Trade figures for April show we have the highest per capita retail trade turnover at $1,173 per person, up 6.5 percent through the year, compared with a national average of $1.047 per person.

At 0.9 percent, our growth rate for April was the second highest in the nation, behind only Tasmania’s figure of one percent.

The ACT economy is growing and has rebounded strongly. In the 1990s the Liberals sacked thousands of Canberrans and the city went into recession. They’ve done the same again in recent years, but the damage has been contained. The city is still moving ahead. There are cranes on the skyline and customers in the shops. In fact, despite massive job cuts, we have the lowest unemployment of any jurisdiction according to the most recent data.

This is because of the government’s clear plan to diversify our economy by playing to our strengths in education and research and attracting international investment, with major international brands like IKEA, Singapore Airlines and Costco coming to Canberra.

The latest ABS statistics on economic growth show that the ACT had the highest growth in State Final Demand (SFD) of all the states and territories. Economic activity, as measured by SFD, increased by 1.3% in the March quarter, which follows an increase of 1.1 per cent in the December quarter 2015.

These figures follow strong growth in the ACT’s total service exports, which increased by 16.2% to $1.6 billion last financial year. There was particular growth in education exports, which increased by 10.3% to $451 million and the ACT’s personal travel (international tourism) exports which increased by 5.1% to $208 million.

The latest tourism statistics released also show significant growth in our tourism sector, with the ACT recording the highest number of international visitors to the territory in our history.  The Territory’s unemployment rate is the lowest in the nation and building approvals are up 27.6% in the past year. The ACT Budget next week will highlight the improved financial position of the territory with the growth in our local economy. The Budget will also demonstrate how the ACT Government is continuing to invest in our community – with more nurses, more teachers, more transport options and more support for vulnerable Canberrans.

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Section: Andrew Barr, MLA | Media Releases

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