COVID-19: Stimulus and re-opening of the economy
Economic trends

On April 20, May 7 and May 25 CommSec outlined the stimulus measures provided by Federal, State and
Territory governments to support businesses and individuals deal with the consequences of the COVID-19
coronavirus. On May 7 and May 25 CommSec also highlighted the plans outlined by the State and Territory
governments to re-open their economies. This report updates the information.

Stimulus and support measures: Federal, State and Territory Governments have committed $295 billion or
around 15 per cent of GDP in support and stimulus measures in the wake of COVID-19. Government decisions on easing lockdown restrictions have implications for all sectors.

What does it all mean?

Australia has made good progress in stopping the spread of the COVID-19 virus. So now States and Territories are firmly focussed on re-opening the economy. The health risks are easing but the economic risks are rising. So it is a case of finding some balance.

The COVID-19 cases may lift again as the economy re-starts, but the aim is to keep the process manageable. Certainly the facilities and procedures are now in place to deal with any modest lift in cases.

The re-start timetable varies across states and territories. The number of active cases is zero or near zero in the Northern Territory, ACT and South Australia. Western Australia and Queensland are approaching zero. NSW and Victoria have a bit further to go. But importantly there is no single road map to follow – as evidenced by the reemergence in recent days of the virus in New Zealand. The re-booting of Australia

Guidelines for COVIDsafe workplaces and activities are available. And the information and guidelines will be expanded over time.

In the transition to lockdown, there were limits imposed on groups of more than 500 people, and then this was tightened to groups of 10 and then to groups of 2 (numbers varied across states and territories).

On May 5, The Prime Ministers of Australia and New Zealand agreed to commence work on a trans-Tasman COVID-safe travel zone – easing travel restrictions between Australia and New Zealand.

Also on May 5, “National Cabinet agreed to establish a three step framework to gradually remove baseline restrictions to enable Australians to live in a COVID-19 safe economy. Details will be determined by National Cabinet on Friday 8 May 2020.

Published by Craig James, Chief Economist ,CommSec