Though there is great cause for concern in our nation, it is important to keep a global and informed perspective.
Other western economies have been hit much harder than Australia. The UK’s economy has shrunk by more than 20 per cent, and the US economy has declined by nearly 10 per cent. Comparatively, Australia’s economy has faced a 7 per cent decline.
“While there is a need for a full-fledged economic recovery and reconstruction plan across the globe, it’s not all doom and gloom for Australia,” Taha says.
“For example, Australia appears to be exiting the pandemic with lower government debt than many other advanced countries.
“Another example is international trade surplus during the pandemic. The national account shows that while both import and export have been negatively impacted, Australian export has dropped less than its import, helping support the GDP and unemployment during the pandemic.”
According to Taha, the early economic indicators suggest that the government’s responses to the crisis during the June quarter are beginning to pay off, leading to a noticeable recovery in GDP from the September quarter. However, the expected recovery will continue to remain below pre-pandemic levels for some time.
An additional benefit that Taha points out is that the pandemic provided an opportunity to identify weak spots within certain industries. “The good news is that the work is now underway to evolve and overcome weaknesses in order to build a more resilient economy,” she says.
“It will be a long road to recovery, but we are stepping in the right direction.”
Associate Professor Taha Chaiechi
The impacts of the crisis have also caused a shift in value systems. Many industries have started creating changes through policies and actions. “For businesses, increased efficiency should no longer be the main goal,” Taha says. “They need to plan and design for resilience.”
Taha says that as operating models evolve, we need to diversify our skillsets and invest in skills that can be applied across several industries.
The post-pandemic economy may be complex for some time, and we must take careful steps forward as we recover, both individually and as a society. But as we move slowly forward, the best strategy that we can take is to focus on being resilient and working together to be ready for anything that may come our way.