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"We will get through this." The 5 key points from Josh Frydenberg's press conference on the recession.

Australia is experiencing the greatest economic crisis since World War II due to the fallout of the coronavirus pandemic, Treasurer Josh Frydenberg and Finance Minister Mathias Cormann announced on Thursday morning. 

The treasurer outlined the debt Australia now faces, due to unprecedented government spending, plus the expected peak of the unemployment rate, during a press conference in Canberra on Thursday. 

Here are the five key takeaways. 

1. Australia is experiencing the worst recession since the Great Depression.

"Australia is experiencing a health and economic crisis like nothing we have seen in the last 100 years," Frydenberg told reporters in Canberra on Thursday.

The economic statement forecasts cuts of 0.25 percent in gross domestic product in 2019/20 and a reduction of 2.5 per cent in the current financial year (2020/21).

Josh Frydenberg during the economic update on Thursday. Image: Getty. 

2. Unemployment will peak in December. 

The unemployment rate will peak at 9.25 per cent in the December quarter, the treasurer announced. 

Currently, the official unemployment rate is at 7.4 per cent, although the effective unemployment rate stands at 11.3 per cent when you take into account those who have left the workforce or those who are on zero hours.

3. The government's actions saved 700,000 jobs.

Treasurer Josh Frydenberg says the federal government's stimulus measures, such as wage subsidy program JobKeeper, saved 700,000 jobs in Australia. This means the forecast unemployment peak in December is five percentage points lower than first feared.

Still, one of the major concerns facing the federal government is job creation. 

"Between March and May, 870,000 jobs were lost and more than one million Australians saw their working hours reduced," Frydenberg said.

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"These are mums and dads, sons and daughters, friends and colleagues."

On Tuesday, Prime Minister Scott Morrison announced the federal government will extend JobKeeper until March 2021, albeit at reduced payments, in acknowledgement that businesses are still being significantly impacted by coronavirus. 

Watch: Scott Morrison announces the extension of the JobKeeper scheme. Post continues below. 


Video via Channel Nine

4. Australia's debt will reach $677.1 billion in 2020-21.

Australia's net debt will reach $677.1 billion at June 30 next year, which is equivalent to 35.7 per cent of GDP. Frydenberg said the record debt burden was "manageable". 

The treasurer added that the budget was in deficit $85.8 billion in 2019/20, reflecting the initial impact of coronavirus, with the figure expected to grow to $184.5 billion for 2020/21, as a result of record spending.

"These harsh numbers reflect the harsh reality we face," Frydenberg said, adding it will take "a number of years" to pay back this debt. 

"We’re not putting a date on it because we want to grow the economy, and what I can tell you is we will be doing everything we can to get people back into jobs and ultimately to grow the economy, but the pathway to growing the economy is through skills programs, infrastructure investment and tax reform."

5. "We're in a better position than any other country in the world." 

Finance Minister Mathias Cormann said "we need to keep things in perspective".

"We are in a better, stronger, more resilient position than just about every other country around the world and that puts us in a strong position for our economic recovery," Cormann said. 

Frydenberg added: "Our economy has taken a big hit and there are many challenges we confront. We can see the mountain ahead and Australia begins to climb. We must remain strong." 

"We will get through this and we will get through this together."

Feature image: AAP. 


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