A slump in stamp duty revenue at the height of the COVID-19 shutdown has led to a further deterioration in the ACT's budget position, Chief Minister Andrew Barr has revealed.
Mr Barr provided an update on the territory financial position to the Legislative Assembly on Thursday morning, two days after he was scheduled to hand down his ninth budget as ACT treasurer.
The ACT budget has been delayed until after the October 17 election due to the coronavirus.
The statement did not include an updated projection on the ACT's budget bottom line, with Mr Barr noting that it was impossible to quantify the full toll of the continuing pandemic.
The most recent forecast had the ACT plunging $255 million into the red this financial year, although that number will almost certainly be higher once figures are finalised - most likely in August.
Mr Barr did reveal the amount of revenue collected from government taxes was down about 6 per cent, compared to its mid-year budget predictions.
The slump was due to the government's efforts to lighten the tax burden on households and businesses and a general reduction in economic activity.
He said stamp duty, which along with payroll tax accounts for about 40 per cent of the territory's own-source tax revenue, had fallen about 20 per cent in May, as property prices and sales fell.
Revenue from GST receipts, which makes up about 25 per cent of the territory's tax base, had also declined sharply.
The ACT economy actually grew in the March quarter, defying a national downturn which signaled the start of Australia's first recession in almost 30 years.
Mr Barr acknowledged the 2.1 per cent growth was largely the product of the spending needed to deal with the "series of unprecedented events" the ACT had faced in 2020, including the summer fires and January's freak hailstorm.
But Mr Barr said economic activity would likely contract in the June quarter.
In the speech, which was delivered prior the release on Thursday of the latest Australian Bureau of Statistics jobs figures, Mr Barr said every job lost in the ACT was "devastating".
"This is why we are devoted to getting every person back into work as quickly as possible," he said.
He noted the government's economic survival package, which is set to cost $350 million, was substantially greater than any stimulus put forward during the global financial crisis.
Mr Barr did not use the speech to announce any new projects or policies, instead just listing off the various measures committed to thus far. He stressed vulnerable Canberrans would not be left behind in the recovery, particularly as federal government support wound up later this year.
Opposition leader Alistair Coe criticised the lack of detail in Mr Barr's economic update.
"The economic statement is simply a sedative, it will not do what the chief minister says it will do," he said.
"It provides no figures, no detail and after 19 years in office, it [Labor] has no vision for the future of our city."