Mr BARRY O'FARRELL: My question is directed to the Premier. Given that the Premier's mini-budget forecast a growth rate of 1.5 per cent for the New South Wales economy and today's national accounts figures revealed negative growth of 0.3 per cent in the last quarter, will he explain the impact of his miscalculation on the State's finance and jobs?
Order! Government members will remain silent.
Mr NATHAN REES:
I remind the House that the volatility in figures does not affect only the New South Wales Treasury forecast but, indeed, forecasts all over the world. Whether it is a major bank or a major jurisdiction in Australia or overseas, projections have been volatile, such as the Federal Government's $115 billion. The Australian Bureau of Statistics today released data on a national output showing a decrease in gross domestic product of 0.5 per cent in the December quarter. In New South Wales the State final demand decreased by 0.3 per cent over the quarter, following a revised increase of 0.5 per cent in the previous quarter.
Over the last two quarters New South Wales demand has grown by 0.2 per cent, compared to a negative 0.4 per cent for Victoria and a negative 0.4 per cent for Australia. There are some upsides and cause for cautious optimism around export volumes, which grew by 8.2 per cent in the December quarter. We have been encouraged by yesterday's results, which showed New South Wales leading Australia in the January retail sales figures, which rose 1.9 per cent. Volatility in projections, estimates and the data for every jurisdiction and large business is a feature of the current times. We will update our responses, as required. Everyone is dealing with a world in which there is increased volatility to an extent we have not seen for 70 years.