COVID-19 cases surpass 1.4 million worldwide, NSW social distancing rules to be reviewed on monthly basis says Gladys Berejiklian

COVID-19 cases surpass 1.4 million worldwide, NSW social distancing rules to be reviewed on monthly basis says Gladys Berejiklian

But the spending related to the pandemic, plus the economic hit facing the country, meant the nation’s credit rating could be downgraded within the next two years.

“The COVID-19 outbreak has dealt Australia a severe economic and fiscal shock,” it said.

“We expect the Australian economy to plunge into recession for the first time in almost 30 years, causing a substantial deterioration of the government’s fiscal headroom at the ‘AAA’ rating level.

“The large budget deficits that we project in fiscal years 2020 and 2021 are likely temporary and do not represent a structural weakening of fiscal performance.

“Net government debt and relative interest cost nevertheless are likely to remain at elevated levels for a number of years.”

The announcement followed Treasurer Josh Frydenberg ruling out an increase in the GST to help pay for the government’s spending.

Mr Frydenberg, pressed on Sky News if he would look to increase or broaden the GST, said it was not on the agenda.

“We’ve no plans to do that,” he said.

The Treasurer said the government’s budget management of recent years had given it the space to develop large measures to protect the economy.

“We have been able to spend in a much more targeted way and in a much more substantial way than many other countries because we had got our books into shape before this crisis hit,” he said.

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