STATE ECONOMY AND JOBS
The Hon. SHAOQUETT MOSELMANE:
My question is addressed to the Treasurer. Will the Treasurer update the House on the latest employment data?
The Hon. ERIC ROOZENDAAL:
I thank the honourable member for his interest in this matter. Today I am proud to announce more good news for New South Wales. In breaking news, I can advise members that the unemployment rate for New South Wales for the month of February 2010 is 5.4 per cent. This is a decrease of 0.2 per cent, compared to the month of January. This is good news for New South Wales families and business. This means that since March 2009 more than 66,000 jobs have been created in New South Wales. Looking at this on a trend basis, employment in New South Wales has increased for 11 consecutive months. This is good news for New South Wales families and for the New South Wales economy.
Today's data shows that in February alone more than 13,000 jobs were created in New South Wales. Incidentally, Victoria lost more than 15,000 jobs. While the New South Wales rate fell, the Queensland unemployment rate increased by 0.2 per cent to 5.7 per cent, South Australia increased by 0.3 per cent and Tasmania increased by 1.1 per cent. This is reassuring news for the State economy. New South Wales continues to lead the nation's economic recovery. According to the official Australian Bureau of Statistics data, our $380 billion New South Wales economy has outperformed every other State for the first half of the financial year. Also today we have seen the release of further data from the National Australia Bank showing that business confidence continues to improve.
The National Australia Bank business survey found that 30 per cent of small and medium-size businesses reported good or very good conditions for the December quarter. This is more good news for the State economy. I remind members of further good recent economic news. The latest Australian Bureau of Statistics figures show that New South Wales business investment grew by 7.2 per cent in the December 2009 quarter—more than twice the national average of 3.5 per cent. The New South Wales retail sector has outperformed every other State since the worst days of the global financial crisis. Since then New South Wales retail sales grew by 12.2 per cent; the national average was only 8.2 per cent.
Our building sector was a star performer for the first quarter of the financial year. New South Wales building activity grew by 5.7 per cent to $4.28 billion for the September 2009 quarter. New South Wales growth was not matched by any other State. The national increase was only 1.6 per cent for the same period. That is more good news for the people of New South Wales and for the State's economy. Yet once again the downtrodden members opposite have been consistent in greeting any good news about the State's economy with heckles. I understand their disappointment. Basically, they are economically illiterate, they opposed the stimulus package, and they have yet to put up a single policy. It is no wonder Tony Abbott has declared that Barry O'Farrell is lazy. Members opposite refuse to participate in improving this State.