Treasurer: Across the world, this health crisis has become an economic crisis
UPDATE from the Treasurer
This was another very tough week for Australia.
The latest jobs figures show that there were 594,000 fewer Australians in jobs in April. This is heartbreaking.
Across the world, this health crisis has become an economic crisis.
In the United States, over 36 million jobless claims have been made in the eight weeks to 9 May, with the unemployment rate rising to 14.7% in the month of April.
In China, GDP fell by 9.8% in the March quarter – the first fall on record.
Here in Australia, we saw consumer and business confidence have their largest falls on record.
In just over a month, our share market lost more than a third of its value.
New vehicle sales fell by 48% through the year. House sales fell by 40%.
Domestic and international air travel is down by more than 97%.
Unfortunately, the economic news will get worse before it gets better.
Treasury forecasts our unemployment rate will increase to around 10%.
But for our unprecedented $130 billion JobKeeper program, which now has more than 860,000 businesses formally enrolled covering over six million Australian employees, they predict it would reach 15%.
Other measures to support Australians include:
• 690,000 businesses with payments of up to $100,000 to boost cash flow.
• 117,000 apprentices with a 50% wage subsidy.
• 1.9 million Australians are now receiving the $550 Coronavirus Supplement.
• The first $750 payment to over 7 million Australians was made in April and a second $750 payment will be made in July.
• Lower deeming rates and halving the superannuation minimum drawn down requirements to help retirees.
Australians know there is no money tree.
Our measures are not designed to go forever, but to build a bridge to the recovery.
Australia entered this COVID-19 crisis from a position of strength.
In six years, over 1.5 million jobs were created. Last year, we balanced the budget for the first time in 11 years.
Compared to most countries, Australia is in a stronger position to recover.
The rate of increase in new COVID-19 cases has fallen from 25-30% per day at the end of March, to less than 0.5% per day now.
Having suppressed the spread of the virus and put vital protections in place, we can now begin lifting restrictions which Treasury estimates could see around 850,000 people go back to work in the coming months.
Our measures are working, protecting lives and livelihoods.
Australians can be confident about our future.
We must stay strong. We must stay together. We must maintain our resolve.