Qld economy in for bigger coronavirus ‘shock’ than expected, says Treasurer

Qld economy in for bigger coronavirus 'shock' than expected, says Treasurer

“The total cessation and stoppage of customers – people are cancelling domestic flights, big events are being cancelled – with those sorts of elements unfolding, what this has meant is even more of an economic impact or shock than we had anticipated a few weeks ago,” she said.

“We are constantly analysing the situation, and I will be making further comments in parliament next week.”

Jackie Trad (left) and Annastacia Palaszczuk attend last year’s Paniyiri Greek Festival, which is among many events that have been cancelled this year.  Credit:AAP Image/Glenn Hunt

A litany of Brisbane events have been cancelled since Friday, including the Paniyiri Greek Festival and the World Science Festival.

Brisbane City Council on Sunday issued an alert stating the Yeronga Swimming Pool in the inner south would be closed until further notice after a patron was diagnosed with COVID-19.

Ms Trad said she had spoken to some of Queensland’s largest employers about the impact, with Prime Minister Scott Morrison on Friday enacting a ban on mass gatherings of more than 500 people.

The state government has already rolled out payroll tax relief and a tourism economy stimulus package of $27 million.

Queen Street Mall was all but abandoned on Saturday, leading Jackie Trad to say she was “really feeling” for small businesses and retailers.Credit:Ruth McCosker

The Deputy Premier noted media reports of Queen Street Mall being all but abandoned on Saturday – normally its busiest trading day – and said she was “really feeling” for small businesses and retailers.

“We are pulling together our budget right now and we have got our eyes firmly focused on how we can support industries in our economy, small businesses in our economy, workers in our economy to make sure that economic activity continues,” Ms Trad said.

The national cabinet for coronavirus, including Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk, will again meet on Sunday to discuss further measures.

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Ms Trad said there would be a follow-up meeting of Queensland cabinet ministers after the national cabinet meeting to discuss further precautions, including school closures and changes to jury trials, following a ban in Victoria on new jury trials.

“Of course we have seen other premiers of Australia articulate that school closures are inevitable. A number of schools have taken that precautionary measure as students or parents have tested positive to COVID-19,” she said.

“This is a rapidly evolving situation and we are working each and every day to stay ahead of the impacts that this will have on Queenslanders and our economy.”

Education Minister Grace Grace told the ABC schools would operate as normal on Monday. The state’s education department was contacted for comment.

Ms Trad said the budget would ensure there was “sufficient” funding for the “world-class” Queensland Health to manage the situation, with $20 million already injected to clear the backlog of elective surgeries.

“We need to be flattening the curve – the front line of COVID-19 is people’s behaviour. That is what is going to make the biggest difference in terms of how we, as a community and as a state, respond to coronavirus,” she said.

Lucy is the urban affairs reporter for the Brisbane Times, with a special interest in Brisbane City Council.

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