The COVID-19 pandemic has resulted in the most severe global economic crisis since the Great Depression.

In April 2020, more than one million Australians lost their jobs or saw their working hours reduced to zero.

Across the world 600 million people lost their jobs.

This year, the Euro area fell back into recession once again.

Australia is still in a once-in-a-century pandemic. There is a long way to go.

Lockdowns are having significant impacts on, not just the economy, but on people’s wellbeing.

But with strong progress on the vaccine rollout, there is light at the end of the tunnel.

We can be confident that our recovery will get back underway as restrictions are eased.

We know this as in March 2021, Australia became the first advanced economy to have more people in employment than prior to the pandemic.

Between May 2020 and June 2021 more than a million jobs were created.

By June, Australia’s unemployment rate had fallen to 4.9% – below its level in March 2020 and, despite lockdowns, reached 4.5% in August.

By contrast, following the 1990s recession, it took Australia 10 years for unemployment to return to its pre-recession level.

Despite COVID-19, Australia’s unemployment rate is lower than the 5.7% when Labor left Government.

Ahead of all major advanced economies, Australia’s GDP has returned to be larger than it was pre-COVID.

Between December 2019 and March 2021, Australia’s economy grew by 0.8%.

By contrast: the USA’s economy contracted by 0.9%; Canada declined by 1.7%; Japan by 2.3%; France by 4.7%; Germany by 5.0%; Italy by 6.4% and the UK by 8.7%.

Australia’s economy recovered what it lost in just over a year – faster than any recovery from any downturn in recent history.

Australia is one of nine countries to have a AAA credit rating from the three leading credit agencies.

Australia is better placed than nearly any country to meet the challenges ahead.

Our first priority is to keep Australians safe from COVID.

The Liberal and Nationals Government has committed $30 billion to the vaccine rollout and strengthening our health system in response to COVID.

Our economic recovery plan includes:

  • Tax relief, to put more money in people’s pockets;
  • Business incentives, to unleash a further wave of investment;
  • New apprenticeships and training places to get more Australians in work;
  • A $110 billion infrastructure pipeline to build our nation’s future;
  • Record funding to guarantee the essential services Australians rely on.



Australia entered the COVID-19 pandemic in a position of strength.

  • In 2018-19, for the first time in 11 years, the budget was returned to balance.
  • Over six years, more than 1.5 million jobs had been created.
  • Australia had the lowest level of welfare dependency in 30 years (as at June 2019).

This gave Australia the financial firepower to enact the strongest economic support measures in our history – to cushion the blow and help Australians remain in jobs.

Australia’s economic response has included:

  • COVID-19 Disaster Payment – over 3.2 million claims granted.
  • JobKeeper – the largest support lifeline in history – which in its first phase supported over 3.8 million jobs and over 1 million businesses.
  • The Cashflow Boost, which has provided $35 billion in payments, helping over 800,000 small and medium businesses to stay afloat.
  • A 50% wage subsidy, supporting 180,000 existing apprentices and trainees and 100,000 new apprenticeships and traineeships.
  • Up to 450,000 JobTrainer places for school leavers and job seekers to upskill.
  • The HomeBuilder program, supporting the residential construction industry.
  • The Coronavirus Supplement, providing extra support for those on JobSeeker.
  • $750 payments in April and July 2020 to millions of Australians, including pensioners. Additional payments of $250 in December 2020 and March 2021.
  • Additional support for industries that have been particularly affected, including aviation, agriculture, fisheries, tourism and travel and the arts.

Our actions to support the economy saved 700,000 jobs according to the Reserve Bank.

Without JobKeeper and other measures to support our economy, Treasury estimates the unemployment rate would have been 5 percentage points higher.

Information current as at September 2021