Frydenberg warns of 'harsh numbers' in newly released economic data
Treasurer Josh Frydenberg says forecasts show Australia's real gross domestic product will fall by 7 per cent in the June quarter due to COVID-19.
Despite this, Mr Frydenberg said Australia will escape the virus relatively unscathed compared to nations around the world.
"Australia has performed on a health and economic front better than almost any country in the world," Mr Frydenberg said.
Josh Frydenberg has warned of a health and economic crisis not seen for 100 years.(Alex Ellinghausen/Sydney Morning Herald)
Mr Frydenberg compared the economic damage of COVID-19 to that of the Great Depression in 1930.
The nation's unemployment rate is forecast to hit 9.25 per cent by Christmas this year.
Without the government's economic lifelines such as JobKeeper, Mr Frydenberg said forecasts show an additional 700,000 jobs would have been lost.
Between March and May this year, approximately 870,000 Australians lost their jobs.
"These are mums and dads, sons and daughters, friends and colleagues," Mr Frydenberg said.
For the financial year 2019-2020, Australia's deficit is $85.8 billion or 4.3 per cent of gross domestic product.
The raft of economic measures brought in by the government to stifle economic damage as a result of COVID-19 has cost a combined $163.4 billion.
Mr Frydenberg said 99 per cent of this spending is over two financial years, thus spreading the cost over a longer period.
He refused to put a date on how long it will take the government to pay for the cost of a number of economic lifelines rolled out during the pandemic.
"We're not putting a date on it because we want to grow the economy, and what I can tell you is we will be doing everything we can to get people back into jobs," Mr Frydenberg said."
"Ultimately to grow the economy, but the pathway to growing the economy is through skills programs, infrastructure investment and tax reform."
To date, COVID-19 has caused the loss of $11 trillion from the world's economy.
"Today we stand in a very different world," Mr Frydenberg said.
"Australia and the world is now experiencing the most severe economic crisis since the Great Depression."
Finance Minister Mathias Cormann spoke of the measures made by the government to protect the economy.
"Many of the decisions we made had to be made very quickly early in the year," Mr Cormann said.
"We're doing all of this against the backdrop of an economic and fiscal environment that remains highly uncertain."
The Treasurer has stressed the forecasts laid out today have been created in exceptionally trying times for economists.
"Forecasting is difficult in the best of times, let alone in a pandemic," Mr Frydenberg said.
"But Treasury have done an excellent job in the circumstance.
"In terms of the domestic economy, how we manage future cases of the coronavirus will be absolutely key to the speed of our recovery."
Using the measure of X number of active cases for every 1 million people, Australia remains remarkably low.
Australia has 156 active cases of COVID-19 for every one million people.
The UK has 3700 active cases of COVID-19 for every one million people.
The US has 7700 and Sweden – who refused to go into lockdown – has 7100 active cases per one million people.
KEY FIGURES FROM ECONOMIC AND FISCAL UPDATE
2019-20: $85.8 billion
2020-21: -$184.5 billion
2019-20: 7.0 per cent
2020-21: 8.75 per cent
Consumer Price Index
2019-20: -0.25 per cent
2020-21: 1.25 per cent
2019-20: -.25 per cent
2020-21: -2.25 per cent
2019-20: $684.3 billion
2020-21: $851.9 billion
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Originally published: https://www.9news.com.au