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Snap lockdowns remain essential despite costing $3bn a week

  • August 04 2021
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Snap lockdowns remain essential despite costing $3bn a week

By Cameron Micallef
August 04 2021

The federal Treasurer has confirmed the importance of snap lockdowns, highlighting that the alternative would cost the country five times more in economic losses, he said in a recent press event.

Snap lockdowns remain essential

Snap lockdowns remain essential despite costing $3bn a week

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  • August 04 2021
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The federal Treasurer has confirmed the importance of snap lockdowns, highlighting that the alternative would cost the country five times more in economic losses, he said in a recent press event.

Snap lockdowns remain essential

Treasurer Josh Frydenberg has warned that until 70 per cent of all Australians have been vaccinated from COVID-19 lockdowns will remain, despite costing the economy over $3 billion a week.

In a media briefing with the Doherty Institute, discussing Australia’s way out of the pandemic, the Treasurer confirmed the high cost of remaining unvaccinated.

However, he said that even with a 50 to 60 per cent vaccination rate, the national economy would still suffer five times more if a state did not contain a new outbreak of the virus by plunging into lockdown.

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According to the Treasurer’s modelling, at a 50 per cent vaccination rate, if governments are containing early COVID cases, the outbreak would cost the economy some $570 million a week, while at 60 per cent it would cost $430 million a week.

But at a 70 per cent vaccination rate, that cost, according to Mr Frydenberg, would come down to $200 million a week, and at 80 per cent the cost would be $140 million a week.

With a vaccine rollout plan that remains behind the government’s initial targets, the Treasurer reinforced the need for lockdowns.

“It is the way out of this crisis, and it is the way to avoid, in the future, longer, more severe lockdowns,” Mr Frydenberg said.

“The second key finding or outcome from the economic analysis is that the economic cost comes down significantly if governments work quickly to get on top of the virus. This is the Prime Minister’s point. Early interventions, short, sharp lockdowns, are the most cost-effective way to handle the virus.”

The Treasurer highlighted evidence of short, sharp lockdowns in Queensland and Victoria, but failed to mention NSW, which is currently at week 5 of its current prolonged lockdown.

Economists, including at AMP and Commonwealth Bank, have estimated the cost of Sydney’s lockdown at around $2 billion per week.They have also ballparked Melbourne’s lockdowns at over $1 billion per week.

Mr Frydenberg’s press briefing comes as the country faces the likelihood of a recession.

The Treasurer has admitted that the country’s economic fate relies on NSW getting out of lockdown prior to the commencement of the fourth quarter.

“Now, whether or not the country has a double-dip recession largely depends on when it’s largest city opens back up.

“My expectation is that the September quarter will be negative,” Mr Frydenberg told ABC last week.

“But with respect to the December quarter, that does depend to a large extent on how successful New South Wales, our largest state economy, is in getting on top of this virus.”

Prior to the outbreak of COVID-19, Australia had 29 years of uninterrupted economic growth.

However, in a recent media appearance, the man who presided over Australia’s first recession highlighted the strength of the economy, pointing to strong fundamentals despite the re-emergence of COVID-19.

“We have seen our economy become bigger today than it was going into the pandemic,” Mr Frydenberg told Sky News.

“And we’ve seen 160,000 more people in work today than going into the pandemic.

“No other advanced economy has that track record.”

Snap lockdowns remain essential despite costing $3bn a week
Snap lockdowns remain essential
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About the author

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Cameron is a journalist for Momentum Media's nestegg and Smart Property Investment. He enjoys giving Aussies practical financial tips and tricks to help grow their wealth and achieve financial independence. As a self-confessed finance nerd, Cameron enjoys chatting with industry experts and commentators to leverage their insights to grow your portfolio.

About the author

author image
Cameron Micallef

Cameron is a journalist for Momentum Media's nestegg and Smart Property Investment. He enjoys giving Aussies practical financial tips and tricks to help grow their wealth and achieve financial independence. As a self-confessed finance nerd, Cameron enjoys chatting with industry experts and commentators to leverage their insights to grow your portfolio.

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