Jennifer Westacott interview with David Koch, Sunrise

Event          Jennifer Westacott interview with David Koch, Sunrise

Speaker       Jennifer Westacott, David Koch

Date            28 April 2020

Topics         COVID-19 economic modelling

E&OE

David Koch, host Sunrise: Now the Business Council of Australia is warning that unless coronavirus restrictions are lifted by June, thousands of businesses will not survive. Modelling by consulting giant EY estimates the economic cost of the lockdown will reach almost $200 billion by that time. It will increase to $280 billion by August. By October, more than $400 billion. So what else can be done to support businesses to keep their doors open? For more, I'm joined by the chief executive of the Business Council of Australia Jennifer Westacott. Jennifer good to see you again. 

Jennifer Westacott, chief executive Business Council of Australia: Good to see you.

David: How many businesses are we talking about are at risk? Which industries? And most importantly this all leads to loss of jobs doesn't it?

Jennifer: Absolutely. Look the industries that have been really hard hit are small retail, tourism, hospitality and aviation, which is obvious. Some industries are doing okay; mining and obviously the big retailers, based on the fact that people are doing a lot of shopping. I think the key here Kochie, is we've got to find a safe way back to work. And that's about the app, that's about more testing, and that's about enforcing those industry standards about separation. But it's crucial that we start to think about the longer this goes on, the harder it's going to be to recover.

David: Because people would say, how do you balance up balance sheets with the health risk to the community?

Jennifer: I don't think you can sacrifice the health at all and I think we've seen in other countries when people have put the health as a second-order issue, you can't suddenly contain it, you've got thousands of people dead. And in fact, if you lose control you end up with a tougher lockdown and more economic damage. And that's why we've got to find a way back and that's about people taking up that app, it's about getting people back to work safely, it's about industry standards and it's about bigger testing. And Kochie, we've got to make sure on the way back here that we do not put a single obstacle in the way of a small business or a business getting back up on their feet. That we get rid of some of this red tape that interestingly has all been put aside. We get rid of it once and for all.

David: Okay, alright, big changes. Jennifer Westacott thanks for joining us.

Jennifer: You're welcome, thanks.