Recent growth experienced in the ACT conceals a fragile economy that is still too reliant on Commonwealth spending, according to the Property Council of Australia ACT Executive Director, Catherine Carter.
“Canberra has benefited from a period of very solid growth but if you look closely this has been largely driven by Commonwealth expansion and spending.
“We need to diversify our economy so we are not just reliant on what the Commonwealth is doing – the economic welfare and livelihood of Canberrrans shouldn’t be tied just to Commonwealth Government spending.
“We don’t need to look too far back to see what happens when the Commonwealth decides to rein in expenditure. Think back to 1996 when public service job cuts hit Canberra hard.
“Our economy needs to be driven by a range of sectors so it can weather a reduction in Commonwealth activity. We need an economic backup plan.”
Government administration and defence currently account for 26.7 per cent of the Territory’s economy, followed by property and business services (12.7 per cent). Together, these sectors dominate the economy and fluctuations in these sectors have a major impact on the Territory’s welfare.
“There are a range of measures available to the ACT Government to encourage a stronger, more diversified economy.
“The Property Council has proposed a number of initiatives in our Initiatives for Canberra
paper which should be pursued by the ACT Government. These include:
- the re-establishment of an economic development unit, to focus on business and attracting new business to Canberra;
- the reintroduction of targeted government initiated economic development and business support programs;
- and the release of competitively priced industrial land for ‘big box’ type developments to encourage a diverse range of employment opportunities in the Territory such as distribution warehouses and light industry.
“We need to diversify our industry base so all our eggs aren’t in the one basket. The Property Council is willing to work with the ACT Government to help achieve this diversity.”
For further information contact:
Catherine Carter, Executive Director, 02 6248 6902 or 0412 330 079