Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews has said there is a “massive package of support” on its way to address the financial devastation rendered by the coronavirus outbreak in the state.
As the state recorded 98 new cases - the lowest number in eight weeks - Andrews said there is reason for Victorians to be hopeful.
“People can be optimistic about the fact that this strategy is working and we will see this off, defeat this in a second wave and there will be a massive package of support to save jobs and create new jobs. That is our commitment and our record,” he said.
He said he was pleased to see the current strategy is working and said there will be more details provided on the pathway out of lockdown “as soon as we possibly can”.
“We will be able to outline exactly what weeks and months ahead will look like and that will be more certain, more meaningful, more real, it just won't be commentary, but a plan based in science, medicine and evidence and that is what we have to do,” Andrews said.
“We will make announcements soon about what the weeks and months ahead look like and the work that we are going to do in partnership with business, in partnership with unions, workers, in partnership with every community to repair the damage that this wicked pandemic has done.”
Earlier in the day, Andrews said the future will feature freer movement with pubs, restaurants, cafes and workplaces open.
“We may have masks still, in some settings. We will have physical distance, hand hygiene, cough etiquette, all those things.
“We will have people back at work, we will have economic activity. We will have a massive plan of investment and support to repair the damage that this pandemic has done.”
Andrews’ statement comes amid forecasts from NAB and ANZ predicting the lockdown could slam a $41 billion hole through Victoria’s economy, meaning Australia’s economy at large won’t return to pre-virus strength for years.
Australia’s national accounts for the September quarter are due to be released on Wednesday, with economists forecasting a 6 per cent GDP reduction and official confirmation of Australia’s first recession since 1991-92.
The Victorian government and City of Melbourne on Friday held crisis talks to find a way out of the pandemic’s economic devastation. In the state, 10 per cent of jobs have been lost with 12 per cent of Melbourne businesses expected to close down.