January 23, 2021

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‘When China sneezes, the world catches a cold’

3 min read
<p>The Federal Government is this week expected to finalise an economic stimulus package worth more than $5 billion to offset coronavirus impact.</p>

The Federal Government is this week expected to finalise an economic stimulus package worth more than $5 billion to offset the damaging impact of the coronavirus outbreak in Australia.

Business is calling for tax relief and a regulation and red tape "holiday", while the government may consider reducing deeming rates for pensioners, giving local councils funding for small projects and an expansion of instant asset write-offs.

Nine Network political editor Chris Uhlmann says the government has to act quickly to stave off mass unemployment in Australia.

READ MORE: How close are authorities to developing a coronavirus vaccine?

The Federal Government is readying a stimulus package to combat the impacts of coronavirus.

Cabinet will meet tomorrow to consider the package, with an announcement likely later in the week.

The spread of the virus, although not rampant, has already caused panic buying of toilet paper across the country.

Some 70 Australians have been confirmed as having the virus, which has so far killed three elderly people. Most of the cases are in NSW.

Toilet paper has sold out at supermarkets across the country as shoppers stock up on supplies.

What will the government be targeting?

"Keeping people in jobs," Uhlmann told Today.

"Supply has collapsed. As night follows day businesses will start laying people off.

"The government has got to get money into the pockets of those businesses as quickly as possible to try to stave off mass unemployment in Australia.

"You will see a package designed by the government that tries to do just that. How they go about doing it is another difficult question.

"The states can play a role in cutting payroll taxes for businesses. That would help them immediately.

"One of the things the Federal Government could do, and we have seen done once before after Cyclone Yasi, is pay at least the Newstart allowance for every single employee into the pockets of businesses so they can at least have that kind of subsidy.

"We are talking about billions and billions of dollars. And even that may not be enough."

A GP performs a mock coronavirus examination on a patient inside the fever clinic at the Prince Charles Hospital in Brisbane.

Deeply dependent on China

"One of the reasons you have to have something in reserve is because at times like these you need to throw money at this," Uhlmann said.

"Unfortunately for a lot of states and the Commonwealth, they will have to borrow to do that.

"One of the things we're learning is how exposed we are to China. It's not just us though.

"Two-thirds of the world's economy now put China as one of their top three trading partners. That's the real problem for this. We are deeply dependant on a single economy.

"Literally when China sneezes, the world catches a cold."

READ MORE: Who is most at risk of getting coronavirus?

Union says workers must be protected

ACTU secretary Sally McManus said the package must address the financial risk to Australia's 3.3 million casual workers in retail, hospitality, health and aged care, who will lose pay if they get sick.

"We don't want people with virus or people with symptoms going to work, but they are going to have to choose between paying the bills and feeding themselves or going to work," she told Today.

Ms McManus noted other countries impacted by the virus were guaranteeing casual workers wouldn't be penalised if they have to self isolate.

"It should be just paid leave," she said.

Ms McManus suggested employers could be compensated later on.

Source: 9News https://www.9news.com.au/national/coronavirus-stimulus-package-federal-government-readies-plan/aa27fd51-72d0-4c3d-a2cb-3f29cfce9bbd

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