2018-19 Budget Submission to ACT Government

2018-19 Budget Submission

The Canberra Business Chamber thanks the ACT Government for this opportunity to contribute a 2018-19 budget submission.

Critically, the 2018–19 budget must prioritise and resource the foundational elements of our economy which have been established under previous budgets and maintain the Region’s commitment to driving towards the priorities outlined in Destination 2030: A Vision for Canberra. These foundational elements include the City Renewal Authority, Light Rail, the West Basin initiative and the Major Events fund.

In 2016, the ACT Government went to an election with a plan for renewal across the city and its suburbs. The ACT Government was successful in its re-elected on a platform of city renewal and light rail. The 2017–18 budget began to deliver on the Government’s election platform by putting important foundational elements in place. Now that these elements have been established, the 2018–19 budget is one for action and delivery.

A proactive budget is critical to the ACT economy which continues to show signs of both optimism and caution. Whilst tourism to the Capital continues to rise, and the expansion of the renewable energy sector is positive for the community and business alike, we are still vulnerable to the funding swings and roundabouts of Government spending as well as broader economic conditions as evidenced by the Belconnen MYER closure.

This economic vulnerability is most evident in the Federal Government’s decentralisation agenda which seeks to tear a significant component of the economy out of the Region. Decentralisation is the most serious risk to the ACT economy and the Canberra Business Chamber calls on the ACT Government to act to protect the economy from this potential outcome.

To this end, economic diversity, as a key pillar of the Chamber’s Destination 2030 Vision, remains critical to insulating the ACT economy from Federal Government spending fluctuations. Additional capital investment is required and structural issues impacting investment such as the Government’s ability to respond to unsolicited proposals need to be addressed.

The Canberra Business Chamber positions that the priorities and recommendations made in this 2018–19 budget submission are critical to the ongoing economic development of the Canberra Region. The Canberra Business Chamber calls on all parties to support the ACT economy and urges the ACT Government to take a leadership role by promoting the following priorities and recommendations through its 2018–19 budget.