One of this Government’s proudest achievements is that we have got unemployment down and kept it there. Between self-government and our coming to office in 2001, the Territory’s unemployment rate averaged 6.4 per cent. Since then it has been significantly lower, averaging just 3.7 per cent. The 2017-18 Budget continues to invest in growing and diversifying Canberra’s economy to create more and better jobs.
Backing local businesses
This Budget will continue and expand the Government’s high impact innovation programs, support key industry sector development and strengthen outreach, trade and investment facilitation.
The ACT’s service exports have grown by more than 65 per cent since 2010-11 to reach $1.7 billion a year. Our programs to connect Canberra companies with the world and bring more business to town will help maintain that strong growth in the years ahead.
With the arrival of our first international flights last September, there has never been a better time to promote Canberra as a tourist destination. The Government will help bring more visitors to our city by building more partnerships with domestic and international airlines, creating a Major Events Fund to attract more large events and shows, and promote Canberra and the region as a fantastic tourist destination.
More arts and sports
Part of making Canberra an attractive destination for visitors and new residents alike is having a vibrant cultural and sports calendar. That’s why this Budget is investing in local arts organisations like Kulture Break and the ANU School of Music, as well as delivering grants to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander artists and more base funding than ever before for arts program grants.
We will bring national sporting competitions to Canberra, with an increased focus on women’s sport. This includes $250,000 a year for the Canberra Capitals basketball team and increasing support for the Canberra United women’s football team to $125,000 a year. We will also install a permanent basketball court for use by the Capitals at the National Convention Centre.
The Budget will deliver funding to build permanent broadcast facilities at Manuka Oval, providing the standard required for international level cricket matches, and to support more AFL games as well. We will also deliver improvements to other major venues including GIO Stadium, Stromlo Forest Park and the Arboretum to ensure these are up to scratch for more major events.
Growing good, local jobs
The 2017-18 Budget is investing in Canberra’s economy to create more and better jobs for the future. There were 3,200 jobs created this year and there are a further 3,000 jobs projected to be created each year to 2020-21.