Protecting the health of Australians must remain our number one priority but a smarter, consistent and more predictable approach to restrictions will help reduce the economic and social costs of managing the virus.
The Business Council has released practical national guidelines for smarter management of the virus.
The key points of the guidelines are:
- update national hotspot definitions to reflect the Delta strain
- use consistent definitions to trigger lockdowns
- lockdowns should be localised to affected areas rather than automatically locking down entire states
- provide milestones around lockdown stages to remove the day-to-day guessing game around rules and decisions
- agree on predictable and consistent national public health orders
- ensure support for individuals is paid quickly, and is easy to apply for and understand
- set up national architecture to roll-out an expanded version of NSW’s JobSaver scheme
- ensure impacted businesses are eligible for administrative relief, including tax deferrals
- consider extending support for heavily impacted aviation and tourism sectors
- outline a roadmap to reopening which includes a role for business to speed up the national vaccine roll-out, and
- provide clear information on the availability, risks and benefits of the AstraZeneca vaccine based on the latest medical advice.
EY analysis commissioned by the Business Council of Australia shows that 100 days of lockdown restrictions at current levels would force the economy into reverse, taking us back to the lowest point of last year’s recession conditions.
The EY analysis also shows:
- 100 days of restrictions at the current level would wipe out all this year’s economic growth and take the economy back to the worst of the recession conditions experienced in 2020
- lockdowns in New South Wales, Victoria and South Australia are costing $2.8 billion per week and impacting 1.6 million workers
- the NSW lockdown accounts for nearly two-thirds of this cost, with economic losses accumulating at $257 million each day
- the construction sector, which is a major contributor to economic activity and employment has been hard hit by restrictions, and
- if we can restart some core construction activity through a smarter strategy the overall economic impacts could be reduced by $250 million to $500 million per week, helping preserve hard-won economic gains.