OUTLINING the economic impact of the coronavirus crisis last week, Treasurer Josh Frydenberg said his departmental officials were expecting a record 10 per cent fall in GDP between April 1 and June 30.
Summarising a "sobering" set of economic results, Mr Frydenberg said household savings were expected to increase because lockdown restrictions had restricted spending opportunities, and because of an "understandably cautious approach by households to discretionary spending" during the crisis.
The Newcastle Herald would never advise people to spend unwisely, but the treasurer's anonymous economic measures encapsulate the recent experiences and immediate prospects for millions of individual Australians, including hundreds of thousands in the Hunter Region whose employment and business futures may literally depend on what happens in the coming weeks and months.
- Australian states urged to open borders to tourists
- NSW government says virus fear 'no excuse' for truancy
- Free guide to Hunter businesses open during the COVID-19 crisis
- Trump wants WHO 'independent' of China or US funding freeze is permanent
- COVID cases in India surge past 100,000
- US biotech Moderna says its early stage vaccine trials on humans 'promising'
In this context, spending money locally, where possible, becomes an act of intent, knowing that your purchase - even if only in a small way - helps the person you nod to at the coffee bar, the butcher on one side of the shopping strip and the baker across the road, to make it, financially, through the day.
Collectively, the money we spend locally becomes a substantial amount, and its distribution throughout the community becomes a virtuous circle that must surely contribute to keeping the region floating higher in these choppy seas than would be the case if these dollars and cents were spent elsewhere.
As trite as it may sound normally, to say "we do not know what the future holds" is an observation with real meaning at the moment. Australia, an oasis of calm compared with dozens of countries, is now 54th for COVID-19 cases, with yesterday's global total topping 4.8 million infections and almost 319,000 deaths.
If Australia experiences a dreaded second wave of infections, then the nation's planned emergence from "hibernation" will not eventuate, or at least not as our governments have planned.
In the meantime, supporting our local businesses, and encouraging others to do so, will help give us all, collectively, the best chance of either emerging by September strongly, or surviving whatever difficulties may yet lie in front of us.
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