Lockdown and the Economy – Will restrictions be eased too soon?
The COVID-19 pandemic and the proceeding restrictions have long posed a difficult argument between economists, government and health professionals. As the Government has announced an easing of some social distancing restrictions, Australians wait to hear when further enforcement’s will be eased as life as we knew it, begins to return.
Although Australia is currently enforcing lighter social distancing measures to neighbours New Zealand, hundreds of economists are urging the government against easing social distancing measures across the country in an open letter addressed to the Prime Minister with over 200 economist signatures.
Many argue that although the measures have come at a cost to economic activity, this is outweighed by lives saved, and a functioning economy cannot be achieved without first addressing the public health crisis.
The open letter calls the measures at the Australian border and within states and territories, a success in comparison to other countries which must not be squandered.
In a statement made by the IMF last week, Australia’s GDP is predicted to fall by 6.7 per cent in 2020, the worst fall since the Great Depression. However it is expected to rebound just as quickly, growing by 6.1 per cent in 2021.
Job loss is expected to spike with the Treasurer confirming that figures will reach 10 per cent in the next three months to June, from 5.1 per cent in February, following an estimated loss of 30,000 jobs. The introduction of the JobKeeper payment and other Government support stimulus measures, are implemented in an attempt to ease the impact.
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