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Virtually every major world economy has been adversely affected by COVID-19 in 2020. The USA and Europe, as well as Japan and India, have all borne the brunt. Australia has seen unemployment rise and businesses feel the strain, in common with these economies. Yet a similar pattern to COVID-19 can also be seen in our economy: the picture may not seem good, yet somehow not as bleak as any number of countries in terms of absolute numbers.

Australia’s economy is expected to grow very slowly in 2021. It is still far better than what the USA, Japan and much of Europe will experience in the next year, but it is not all good. Businesses will be struggling to recover, and we still have no certainty over how the COVID-19 situation will change over the course of the year. Should Australia experience a second wave of infections, it will be a further economic setback and delay the recovery. While Australia’s debt has increased, it isn’t as dire a situation as in other developed economies and may be in a better position for recovery.

Government spending has increased in order to breathe life into the economy, including such schemes as JobKeeper. There is also a guarantee scheme for SMEs, temporary early access to superannuation and support for trainees and apprentices.  By the end of September, there will be lower payment rates and reassessments regarding JobKeeper. SMEs will be able to access working capital through the Guarantee Scheme assistance, while individuals will gain an extension for temporary early access to superannuation.