Impact of Coronavirus and bushfires on Australian business
With businesses only just starting to recover from the recent bushfire devastation the Corinavirus is now threatening the recovery of the Australian economy. The Coronavirus has already had a bigger impact than the bushfires, and according to a recent Roy Morgan Snap SMS Survey of 1,170 Australian businesses, figures show that as of mid-February around 15% of Australian businesses have been impacted by Coronavirus (COVID-19) with 28% also affected by the bushfire crisis. Queensland has been hit hard by the Coronavirus outbreak, with tourism, fishing and international education industries hurting the most, this has led to the Government to rolling out a 27 million dollar rescue package. The two articles below outline the details behind the response to the effects these recent disasters.
Coronavirus CORVID-19’s hit to Queensland economy prompts $27 million aid package
By state political reporter Allyson Horn
Likening Queensland’s economic pain from the coronavirus outbreak to a natural disaster, Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk says the Government is rolling out a $27 million rescue package for the tourism, education and agriculture sectors.
Those three sectors alone are expected to lose hundreds of millions of dollars due to the closure of China’s borders following the outbreak of the virus, which has recently been renamed CORVID-19.
Queensland tourism operators will have government fees and charges waived as part of the support package.
“Our tourism, fishing and international education industries are hurting,” Ms Palaszczuk said.
She said the devastating impact of coronavirus control measures were akin to “a disaster like any cyclone, fire or flood”.
“This is the largest, most comprehensive coronavirus response by any government anywhere in Australia,” she said.
China is Queensland’s biggest trading partner and concerns have been expressed about the risk of massive job losses across the state due to the coronavirus outbreak.
Ms Palaszczuk said many industries had already been brought to a standstill.
“This Government has never treated this virus lightly,” she said.
“We began preparing our defences while the first patients were still 7,000 kilometres away.”
Extra tourism funding:
• $2 million for Study Queensland to boost marketing
• Extra $7 million to help tourism industry reach into growth markets like Japan, US and New Zealand
• A new $7 million international marketing campaign for India, Japan, South Korea, Latin America, Indonesia, Germany and Vietnam
• $2.3 million marketing Tropical North Queensland and $2.5 million for the Gold Coast
• Lowering liquor licence fees
• Waiving inbound tour operator licence fees
• 100 per cent fee rebate for operators at Cairns Marina and Green Island jetty, full rebate on rent for Ports North commercial tenants — worth $3 million
Help for agriculture and fishers:
• Waiving quota fees for rock lobster and coral trout catches
• Extended catch areas for tropical rock lobster
• Grants for boat upgrades and onshore facilities like freezers
• $500,000 on an Eat Queensland marketing campaign
New research highlights impact of Coronavirus and bushfires on Australian business
According to a recent Roy Morgan Snap SMS Survey of 1,170 Australian businesses, figures show that as of mid-February around 15% of Australian businesses have been impacted by Coronavirus (COVID-19) with 28% also affected by the bushfire crises..
A little over a week after the Australian Government stopped all direct commercial flights to China in early February, COVID-19 is already striking several industries.
Industries to be feeling the effects of the Coronavirus include Accommodation & Food services which includes travel and tourism businesses, Community services, Administrative & Support services and Property & Business services.
Around two-fifths of Manufacturers are already reporting being affected and closely followed by a third of Education & training businesses and those in the Wholesale industry.
Respondents to the survey described in their own words the impact the Coronavirus was already having and these responses fell into a few broad categories including the issue of workers, or students, being quarantined and kept away from work/study; the impact on supply lines for the import or export of goods and parts to and from China; the decline in forward bookings from Chinese tourists and cancellations by customers in Asia as well as the general hit to confidence which includes a weaker stock-market as well as lower foot traffic in stores due to a combination of the aforementioned.
Roy Morgan Chief Executive Michele Levine advises that the long bushfire season has finally ended with drought-breaking rains in recent weeks however the new threat of Coronavirus is a growing threat to the recovery of the Australian economy noting “the new threat of Coronavirus that has emerged in recent weeks is already hitting the business community in much of Australia – and in several states including Western Australia, South Australia and Tasmania – has already had a bigger impact than the bushfires.
“The Australian Government halted all flights from China in early February and that ban is still in place on a week-to-week basis as the spread of COVID-19 in China is being monitored.
“Already feeling the effects are Manufacturing businesses which rely on China for the importation of many parts, Education & training – China is the largest source of foreign students in this $35+ billion industry and Wholesale which imports many goods manufactured in China for sale at Australian retail outlets.
“The Tourism industry is also in the firing line as Chinese tourists (the largest inbound tourism market) are barred from visiting Australia until further notice. In addition, the all-round impact of the coronavirus is having an increasing impact on general confidence which in turn has a negative effect on retail foot traffic. We’ve already seen restaurants close due to the decline in customers particularly in places heavily reliant on Chinese-owned businesses such as Chinatown.
“It is hard to predict exactly how the full impact of the coronavirus will be felt in the Australian economy over the next few months although it’s safe to say that the negative economic ‘shock’ is set to grow after outbreaks of the virus have been seen in such diverse places as South Korea, Iran and Italy over the last few days.”