Impact on the economy
The 2019/2020 summer bushfire season left a gap in the balance sheets of many Australian businesses. However, this was nothing compared to the impact social isolation and mass closures of public facilities, restaurants, and venues would have on the Australian economy. Over 65 percent of businesses reported a reduction in cash flow in March 2020 and almost 30 percent had their supply chains disrupted. On the other end of the spectrum some businesses recorded an increase in demand for their services, particularly in the area of online sales, homewares and food delivery.
In an effort to maintain jobs, the Australian government introduced the JobKeeper wage subsidy, which was paid to businesses who maintained their workforce during the COVID-19 crisis. Surprisingly, it was not the arts, retail or hospitality industries that dominated applications for the subsidy scheme, but rather the construction industry. Despite government help hundreds of thousands of jobs were lost or stood down during the coronavirus crisis.
For further information about the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, please visit our dedicated Fact and Figures page.