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Sobering view from Treasurer on COVID-19 impacts

"On a day we should have heard a good news Budget-day address the Treasurer has instead delivered some extremely sobering messages as our economy faces sharp falls in activity and employment that are without precedent," Innes Willox, Chief Executive of the national employer association Ai Group said today.

"The Government's fiscal response has been decisive and necessary and will contain the economic fallout of the COVID-19 pandemic. As a consequence the federal budget will record its largest ever deficit.

"As the health crisis abates, rebuilding the economy and the budget will be a considerable task. It will require as early a return to activity as can be safely managed and it will require us to turbo-charge our journey to a more productive economy.

"Our response will need to focus on building resilience and adaptability into our economy for the years ahead as the global economy recovers. It will also need to take heed of the lessons from dealing with this pandemic and we must be prepared to challenge and change, where necessary, old ways of operating and thinking.

"Conversations around policy change which were previously consigned to the too hard basket need to be reconsidered. Changes in approach need to take account of competitiveness, productivity, growth and fairness.

"If we are to fully harness our most important advantage - our people - we will need to give just as much priority to building a better, more inclusive society and we must forge a path to growth that is also a path to net zero emissions," Mr Willox said.

Media enquiries: Tony Melville – 0419 190 347