The ACT's economic growth forecast is set to be downgraded, as the financial toll from Canberra's unprecedented summer weather events and the global coronavirus crisis begins to emerge.
ACT deputy under treasurer Stephen Miners made the concession during an address to an Property Council lunch on Friday.
Speaking at the same event, Canberra Business Chamber chair Archie Tsirimokos said industry confidence had plummeted to the "lowest it has ever been", as he cast doubt over whether Prime Minister Scott Morrison's $22.9 billion coronavirus stimulus package would deliver the economic boost he's hoping for.
The ACT government has been bracing for a major financial hit from the summer's events and the COVID-19 outbreak, with last month's mid-year budget review highlighting just how conscious it was of the various economic threats confronting Australia and the territory.
Mr Miners said the territory's economy was tracking to grow at three per cent in 2019-20. But treasury was now revising down those projections after the "just plain awful" start to the year.
"It will definitely be lower than that [3 per cent] ... we won't be able to sustain that as a territory," he told the event at the National Gallery of Australia.
"COVID-19, plus the fires plus other things have just put downward pressure on that number. We haven't got the exact number yet ... but it will be south of that".
Mr Miners said the coronavirus outbreak was particularly harmful to the ACT economy because it caused significant disruption to the two key drivers of its rapidly-growing international export market - higher education and tourism.
"One of the main reasons that the ACT is so exposed is that we have some of the fastest growth in terms of service exports," he said.
"Education exports grew by almost eight per cent and is now worth more than $1 billion. Tourism expanded by 3.2 per cent and contributed a quarter of a billion dollars.
"That strong growth in that sector is going to be curtailed by coronavirus."
Mr Tsirimokos said the events of the past three months, including January's persistent smoke haze and freak hail storm, had taken a toll on Canberra's business community,
"What my members have been telling me is that it [confidence] is the lowest it has ever been, certainly as low as I can remember," he said.
"What they are saying is people are just holding onto their money and just spending on essentials, like toilet paper. They aren't spending on investment."
Mr Tsirimokos had little confidence that the federal government's stimulus package, which includes a range of measures to assist small businesses, would deliver a major boost to the economy.
"I think the businesses that will spend are the ones that have already committed to spending," he said.
"I'm not sure that it's going to bring new spending. I think there is an element of the package that will flow through, but it is probably nowhere near as big as the government might anticipate."
Chief Minister Andrew Barr confirmed on Friday that the government was preparing to roll out its own stimulus package to support the local economy.
We have removed our paywall from our stories about the coronavirus. This is a rapidly changing situation and we want to make sure our readers are as informed as possible. If you would like to support our journalists you can subscribe here.