Australia’s response to COVID
Whilst there’s no doubt the global pandemic affected most Australians in one way or another, compared to many other countries, we have many reasons to be thankful. David believes Australia’s resilience should be celebrated as, ‘we escaped the worst of the health crisis, with much lower COVID-19 case numbers and our economy has rebounded much faster than even the most optimistic forecasts’.
As a result, there are a few main factors to look out for as we progress through the year. David calls this the ‘big three’ - managing the health crisis, government support and rapid adaption. ‘For Australia, we are well placed for each of the three - but starting with the pandemic and putting the health crisis behind us: the vaccine is going to be crucial. How every country in the world accesses the vaccine, how quickly they administer it and how effective it is will be the main driver of their economic recovery’.
Our comparatively low COVID case numbers are a positive sign and reinforce the importance of listening to the medical experts to minimise the impact of any potential outbreaks on jobs, small businesses and our health.
2020 saw the introduction of key policies including JobKeeper and JobSeeker which played a large role in our economy’s recovery. How will these change in 2021?
According to David, ‘support is tapering off via measures such as JobKeeper, but other more targeted measures are kicking in and the evidence is that household spending is picking up (with retail sales 13% higher than a year ago) and overall job vacancies are much higher today than they have been for several years’.
This signals further positive economic recovery for the year ahead.
Positive changes in 2021
For many Australians, the last 12 months have been extremely challenging but they have also resulted in some positive changes. Two trends that are likely to be here to stay are working from home and an increased demand for regional property. The result according to David is a decrease in stress on affordable housing. ‘The lifestyle balance seems to have moved away from ‘how close can I be to the CBD’ to ‘I can live and work wherever I want to’. This is all linked to making better use of technology and digital adoption – so these trends which are all about rapid adaption seem set to continue’.
To sum it up, the vaccine rollout, embracing new technology and government response policy have given David an optimistic outlook for the next 12 months, with the economy hopefully moving in the right direction – onwards and upwards.