Coronavirus (COVID-19) updates

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Every one of us needs to fight

Opinion Piece

Date : 29 July 2020

Author: The Hon Josh Frydenberg MP

Publication: The Herald Sun

The restrictions announced on Sunday will hit all Victorians hard.

We love our state and the simple but treasured things that make up our daily lives — going to the footy at the MCG, visiting friends in the neighbourhood, having a family BBQ.

But we all need to put aside our disappointment, anger and frustration and work together to defeat the coronavirus.

It is a war and every Victorian is on the front line. We cannot afford holes in our defence.

Everybody must follow the rules. If not, the few will endanger the many. Those endangered, may very well be our loved ones. The virus does not discriminate.

The Morrison government has and will continue to provide every possible support to Victorians at their time of need. More than 1400 Australian Defence Force personnel and 800 Commonwealth officials are deployed in Victoria assisting with testing and tracing, planning and logistics.

We have funded 28 respiratory clinics that have undertaken more than 100,000 tests.

We have provided personal protective equipment from the national stockpile including seven million additional masks, and sent AUSMAT specialist health teams to assist in the aged care response and are directing additional funding to the Victorian hospital system.

The Commonwealth has already distributed almost $14 billion to Victorian businesses through JobKeeper and the Cashflow boost initiative. With nearly one million Victorian workers on JobKeeper, it will inject a further estimated $3 billion a month into the state.

Importantly, Victorian businesses that are not now on JobKeeper can still apply where they expect their turnover to fall below the relevant threshold.

The new restrictions announced by the Victorian government will put an even greater burden on a state economy already under pressure. With Victoria representing a quarter of the national economy, the economic impact of this second wave will be felt beyond its borders.

Treasury had previously estimated a stage three lockdown in Victoria for six weeks would reduce GDP by $3.3 billion in the September quarter. This cost will now be higher. How high will depend on the effectiveness of the new restrictions.

These are very difficult days. But there is a light at the end of the tunnel. We can, we must and we will defeat this flagless and faceless enemy. But only by everyone playing their part.

As we adjust to these temporary, more stringent restrictions we must keep in our thoughts the more than 6000 fellow Victorians who have the virus and the selfless health professionals assisting them in their recovery.

By following the advice, we can get these numbers down and give ourselves the best possible chance of having these restrictions eased.

Josh Frydenberg is the Treasurer of Australia

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