The ACT has a once-in-a-generation opportunity to achieve full employment as the economy recovers from the coronavirus-induced recession, Chief Minister Andrew Barr says.
Mr Barr said Tuesday's federal budget confirmed the ACT was no longer swimming against the Commonwealth's fiscal policy, with both jurisdictions now working towards job creation rather than austerity.
"I welcome the Commonwealth's shift away from the tired, dreary and really intellectually bankrupt debt-and-deficit rhetoric that has dominated national politics for the better part of a decade," Mr Barr told the ACT parliament on Wednesday.
Mr Barr said it was good to see federal Treasurer Josh Frydenberg listening to the advice of the Reserve Bank and the Treasury, led by Dr Steven Kennedy.
"We are all Keynesians now," he said, in reference to the 20th century economist John Maynard Keynes who advocated high government spending to promote economic activity.
The territory's unemployment rate dropped to 3.4 per cent in March, down from 4.1 per cent the month before, according to figures released by the Australian Bureau of Statistics.
Mr Barr said he felt confident Australian governments' embrace of expansionary fiscal policy would accelerate the recovery of the ACT's economy.
Mr Barr pointed to the CommSec State of the States report which ranked the ACT as the second best economy in Australia. The report said economic activity in the territory in the year to December was 22.1 per cent, about the ACT's decade-average level.
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The Chief Minister again took aim at the federal government's lack of support for the university sector, saying there was something broken when a Liberal government could expand its deficit but not find extra funding for higher education.
"Clearly, the universities have done something to offend the Morrison government," he said.
Mr Barr also revealed he planned to visit New Zealand later this month to meet with counterparts in Auckland and Wellington and aviation industry figures
"We will continue to work with Canberra Airport to re-establish new routes and develop new domestic and trans-Tasman services," he said.
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