COVID-19 Informer: Travel on people's mind as economy tips into recession

It wasn't the biggest surprise when earlier today Treasurer Josh Frydenberg announced Australia was in recession. It is the first recession in almost 30 years, since 1990 as the economy was smashed by the coronavirus pandemic. Worse is to come. Unemployment would rise to about 10 per cent in the June quarter, a faster rise than in the Great Depression, Treasury Secretary Steven Kennedy has predicted. "We have never seen an economic shock of this speed, magnitude and shape," he said at the end of April.

Queensland has been hard by the lockdown as its economy is dependent on tourism. Queensland Tourism Industry Council chief executive Daniel Gschwind has called on the government to give advance warning to operators so they will be ready to open on day one and not waste valuable time. A Qantas Group representative said Qantas and Jetstar will soon be adding more flights within Queensland, followed by interstate flights when the borders reopen.

A domestic travel bubble has been floated by states that are concerned by the community spread of coronavirus in NSW and Victoria. The ACT is in talks with SA and Tasmania about direct flights from Canberra to Adelaide and Hobart. There are hopes flights could start next month.

Victorian MP Tania Maxwell is concerned statewide restrictions are unfairly affecting regional centres. Community spread of the virus continues on Melbourne but the rest of the state is under the same restrictions. "The government continues to apply a statewide response to the virus, including for last week's directive that people avoid attending work to help relieve public transport pressure, when that is largely irrelevant to the way most northern Victorians travel to work," she said.

A new report released on Wednesday found the coronavirus pandemic could force about one in six Australian charities to shut their doors within six months. The pandemic could also see 200,000 jobs go as the $155 billion sector cuts costs and charities close.

Overseas, New Zealand had its 12th straight day without a new case of coronavirus which has prompted Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern to unveil plans to step down to baseline, or 'level one', restrictions. "Our churches will be able to return to full service. Our sports and concert stadiums can be sold out. And we can celebrate and we can mourn with one another in groups of any size," she said.

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This story Travel on people's mind as economy tips into recession first appeared on The Canberra Times.