COVID-19

27 July

The Path to Recovery

The global Coronavirus Pandemic has sent shockwaves through the Australian economy since the first domestic case was discovered in January 2020. Australia has been less impacted than most developed nations so far, however, social distancing restrictions on gatherings and business operations have had a devastating effect on the local economies. The economic strain has been particularly strong in sectors reliant on the tourism industry, including international education. Many communities went into the pandemic in a weak economic position following floods in Northern and North West Queensland and severe bushfires impacting much of Victoria and New South Wales.

The economic fallout

Australia experienced its first quarter of negative growth in nine years during the March Quarter (-0.3%) and the June quarter, in all likelihood, will show the worst quarter of contraction since the 1930’s as large parts of the economy were shut down. Official unemployment is at 7.4% with approximately 1 million Australians out of work and an under-employment rate of nearly 12%. The unemployment rate would be significantly higher without unprecedented government stimulus measures, including the $86 billion JobKeeper subsidy, which is scheduled to pay up to $1,500 per fortnight through to September (before dropping to $1,300 per fortnight through to March) for organisations to retain their employees.

Australia headline economic statistics

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It is hoped that domestic operations will continue to resume over the coming months. However, the extensive international impacts (with over 6 million confirmed cases and 400,000 deaths) means that it will be some time before the global economy recovers. The recent spike in COVID-19 Cases in Victoria highlight the risks still present within Australia, and that a new normal is still some time away.

The unprecedented stimulus efforts across local, state and federal governments will have a significant and long term impact on Government finances, with funding needing to be recouped through a mix of future spending cuts, higher taxes, and increased borrowing.

Each path will be different

The path forward will be different for each local community, however what’s required is long-term confidence in jobs and opportunities for the future. New and emerging sectors exist, including hydrogen energy, advanced manufacturing (lithium-ion batteries, smart sensors, protective and sanitary equipment), high value agriculture and value adding.

Sectors which have been hit hard by the pandemic including the creative industries, international tourism and education will need new experiences and offerings in order to kick start domestic and in time international demand.

Rethinking the use of space

The lockdowns have forced businesses and communities to alter their behaviour and ‘new found’ practices could have long lasting implications for how communities live and work. Could ‘Work from Home’ emerge to become a significant influence on how businesses and employees think about work practices? Could the necessity for online purchasing during lockdowns spell the death knell for the demand for retail floorspace and facilities? Could the way we live in communities be conceived of differently?

Securing funding for catalytic projects

Governments and industry, individual businesses and economic development leaders need to secure their future project pipeline while funding is still readily available that will provide an economic boost through construction, but also secure long-term job, productivity and catalytic benefits. Various government funding opportunities are available nationally. 

How we can help

Get in touch with us for help on what recent events could mean for Development Planning and Strategic Planning. Or if you could like help with making submissions for funding for deserving projects.

 

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