The global pandemic caused by COVID-19 has impacted the health and wellbeing of millions, though it has also had a detrimental impact on the global economy. While national governments around the world debate their best course of action and their people turn to online casino games to pass the time, Australia Prime Minister Scott Morrison has revealed a multi-million-dollar plan to help his economy recover from COVID.
Like in other countries, the Australian economy had performed strongly until it was caught in the stranglehold of coronavirus. Thirty years of record growth finally came to an end and a national recession was the result of government-mandated lockdowns to combat the spread of the virus. The people of Australia are now waiting to see if the prime minister’s plan can work.
Coronavirus Recovery Plan Revealed
Morrison’s coronavirus recovery plan was announced on 29 September 2020 and revealed how the PM planned to spend A$800 million on helping businesses create new jobs by utilizing digital technologies. Morrison and Treasurer Josh Frydenberg Believe that the plan can raise Australian GDP by A$6.4 billion a year by 2024.
The plan has revealed the government’s intent to fund the Modernising Business Registers (MBR) program with A$419.9 million, while A$256.6 million has been earmarked for a digital identity solution to improve and secure contact with government services. Meanwhile, small businesses will receive a share of A$22.2 million to adopt digital technologies through a combination of tools and training.
Australia also intends to accelerate the adoption of 5G by conducting trials and beginning to develop a national network for telecoms manufacturers like Motorola to utilize. Even blockchain technology is mentioned in the plan, with the government intending to fund two pilot programs with A$6.9 million to help Australian businesses reduce compliance costs.
Arts & Media Job Losses while Online Casino Players Rise
The arts and media industry was an early casualty of COVID, with TV and film productions forced to stop, while live performances of theatres and concerts were also ceased during the various lockdowns. Although theatres and concerts are still impacted, there’s hope for TV and film after Universal Studios Group announced it would film three TV series in Australia. This news presents a lifeline for an industry that lost 20,000 jobs in April.
Although some areas of the entertainment industry have suffered, Business Insider Australia has suggested that online casino users have begun playing more since COVID emerged. And it appears that popular Aussies casino, Joe Fortune is one of the brands to benefit from the increased traffic, with the site providing access to slots, tables, and other online casino games.
Hospitality Industry Loses the Most Jobs
According to Guardian Australia, the hospitality industry has been impacted to an even greater extent, having witnessed more than 270,000 job losses. One of the most brutal incidents occurred in March when the Australian Hotels Association cut 200,000 jobs.
With lockdowns arising frequently across the country, restaurants, pubs, clubs, and hotels have all been forced to endure a downturn in customers. By having to follow strict distancing requirements, businesses in the hospitality industry can only welcome a fraction of the customers who would have visited the premises before coronavirus. Industry spokesmen believe that new jobs could be created if restrictions were to be eased based on a decline in the transmission of local cases in specific areas.
Signs of Life for Retailers
The hospitality industry has witnessed over 120,000 jobs being “stood down”, which occurs when a role is temporarily suspended. In retail, more than 43,000 jobs have been stood down and over 1,800 were lost. With Western Australia less impacted than some of the more populated states in the country, there are smaller towns where retailers are now thriving due to the influx of visitors who are eager to engage in retail therapy, which isn’t currently an option where they live.
With the hospitality industry not ideally suited for technological stimulation, retailers could benefit from the announced government funding by setting up their stores for online sales. This could benefit all manner of retailers, whether focusing on fashion or electronics, with the internet providing a potentially lucrative channel for generating more sales. With government support, retailers could learn how to make the transition into selling online.
More than 32,800 jobs were stood down in the transport and distribution industry, which is curious because the personnel is needed across the country in the transit of food, drinks, and many other types of products. If online sales can increase, then maybe the transport and distribution industry can welcome back a large portion of the workforce, as they will be vital in bringing purchased goods to the customers who ordered them.
Forthcoming Challenges and Cuts
With the October publication of Australia’s budget for the remainder of 2020 and into 2021, Scott Morrison’s government is faced with several challenges that have been heightened by COVID. Young people, the disabled, and women over 45 have all been identified as demographics who could struggle to find employment if the long-term economic effects of coronavirus are especially hard.
Following the announced spend on improving the digital capabilities of Australia, it is hoped that a boost in economic performance can support the nation through some of the crises that are expected to arise. If businesses can figure out how to get employees working from home, then perhaps they could increase the size of their respective workforces if all goes to plan.
While digital spending is set to increase, cuts have been announced for spending on the National Audit Office, National Gallery, and National Museum. Meanwhile, the government is in the process of reducing a coronavirus supplement for jobseekers that is forecast to decrease the size of the economy by billions of dollars. A further cut is expected to impact job-keeper wage subsidies, with several billion dollars expected to leave the Australian economy by Christmas.
Governments all around the world are facing impossible decisions on how to navigate the economic fallout of COVID-19. Australia is no exception and Prime Minister Scott Morrison has placed his stake on technology to stimulate fortunes and see his people through the worst economic crisis to hit the economy in 30 years.