Australia Live Updates
- Australia’s reserve bank governor, Phil Lowe, says the country’s economy faces the biggest contraction in output since the Great Depression.
The RBA expects:
- Australia is likely to experience “the biggest contraction in national output since the 1930s”.
- The decline is estimated to be 10% over the first half of 2020, with most of the decline in June quarter.
- Total hours work are estimated to decline by 20%, a “staggeringly large number”, Lowe said.
- Unemployment is expected to be 10% by June.
- The RBA also predicts negative inflation, for the first time since the 1960s.
Lowe sounds a positive note though: “As a country we are up to the task … all arms of public policy are pulling together.”
- A group of more than 150 economists in Australia have urged the government to maintain social distancing restrictions as some urge a lifting of the lockdown to save the economy. “We believe a callous indifference to life is morally objectionable,” they wrote.
- Australia has questioned China’s transparency about the origins and spread of the virus, which has killed over 161,000.
- China has said Australia’s calls for an investigation into the origins and spread of the virus are baseless.
- Australia’s conservative government will subsidize the wages of six million people for at least the next six months after MPs approved the country’s largest financial stimulus package to cushion the economic blow from the coronavirus pandemic.
- The wage subsidy package, which is expected to cost 130 billion Australian dollars, is the centrepiece of 320 billion Australian dollars pledged by the government and central bank in financial support as the pandemic shuts companies and leaves many unemployed.
- Authorities say the curve is flattening.
- The deputy chief medical officer appeared to backtrack on a promise to release Australia’s COVID-19 modelling.
- Queensland announced that from Friday non-residents would be barred from entry unless they met the criteria for an exemption.
- Victorians were told they could visit a partner who they didn’t live with after earlier advice this was prohibited.
- On Sunday night the prime minister announced the tightening of restrictions to try to stop the spread of COVID-19, gatherings are limited to a maximum of two people.
- Police officers will be able to issue on-the-spot fines of $1,334.50 for individuals and $6,672.50 for corporations, who breach laws. The maximum penalties available through the courts will be 10 times those amounts.