"We need to get Australians back to work": The key points from Scott Morrison's press conference.

On Tuesday afternoon, Prime Minister Scott Morrison was joined by Attorney-General Christian Porter and the Chairman of the National COVID-19 Coordination Commission, Nev Power, to give an update on the current state of COVID-19 in Australia, which has so far claimed the lives of 95 Australians.

The press conference followed today’s National Cabinet meeting, which focused on the task of getting Australians back to work.

Here are the key points from the Prime Minister’s press conference on Tuesday, May 5.

1. Today is about “getting Australians back to work”

The Prime Minister began by announcing that we need to get “1 million Australians back to work”.

The priority is getting those Australians back to work in a “safe economy”, and “that is the curve we need to address”.

Watch: Tuesday May 5 coronavirus headlines. Post continues below. 

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While Australia’s efforts to manage and contain the outbreak of the virus have been largely successful, the Prime Minister said, it has come at a cost.

He elaborated, “that cost will continue so long as we have Australians in a position where they are unable to open their businesses and go back to the offices, children unable to go back to school, and the many restrictions in place, that is why the national cabinet has been working very effectively today as we move towards the decisions we need to take on Friday, that will impact on these restrictions in weeks and months that are ahead.”

The Prime Minister also added that:

  • One million Australians have been through the claims process for Jobseeker
  • Five million are estimated to be on JobKeeper
  • One million are using their superannuation

2. There will be outbreaks, “what matters is how you deal with it”

While restarting the economy will be done as safely as possible, the Prime Minister conceded that “you will see outbreaks occur in other places, that is to be expected”.

What matters, he added, is “how you deal with it”. Businesses, employees and employers will be given the tools to deal with the COVID-19 environment to mitigate risk.

Attorney-General Christian Porter announced the government will be introducing a COVID-19 planning toolkit for businesses, and added the COVIDSafe app will be critical for the reanimation of the economy.

Nev Power said: “So, my message to business is a very, very simple, continue to work with your employees to find ways of configuring your business so you are able to introduce the restrictions on social distancing and hygiene into your normal business activities and have plans in place and be ready as the restrictions change that you can continue to do that as more customers are coming into your business, as there is a higher level of activity and make sure that we continue to contain the virus as the economy starts to expand again.”


3. Covid app passes five million

The Prime Minister praised Australians who have downloaded the COVIDSafe app.

“It will pass five million [downloads] today, offer targeted of 16 million, that puts us at a third of that, that’s a welcome response, and we would like to see a bit more,” he said.

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The Prime Minister clarified the purpose of the app: “If you have come into contact with someone who also has the app who has been infected by the COVID-19 you will know and people will get in touch with you so they can tell you you have been officially compromised by the virus and then you can make decisions to make sure you protect your other family members and those in your household and around you.”

 4. States and territories will continue to work on different timetables

Regarding a question about what the Prime Minister has referred to as a “restriction relaxation roadmap,” Morrison explained: “But as we have seen already as has been the case, states and territories have operated on different timetables, different nuances they have reflected the case characteristics in each of those states and territories and some cases they have reflected the sheer geography of different states and territories.”

He added that he would expect on Friday that more restrictions around the country will be “formally eased”. Furthermore, the government should have more of a ‘roadmap’ about what the next few weeks and months might look like.

5. Could the domestic economy be back up and running in a “matter of months”?

With Australians out of work costing the economy $4 billion a week, Morrison said he has a “strong incentive” to get the economy back up and running.

“We do have some aspirations and targets about this,” he explained. Ultimately, the government want a “Covid safe economy to get to that point as quickly as we can”.

6. New Zealand travel zone “still some time away”

Morrison said discussions about a “safe travel zone” between Australia and New Zealand have been going on for several weeks.

Having met with New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern, Morrison said: “it is still some time away. It is important to flag it because it is part of the road back, at some point both Australia and New Zealand… Connect with the rest of the world again, the most obvious place for that to start is between the two countries.”

7. Interstate travel possible in near future

The Prime Minister said he hopes interstate travel will be possible again by the “end of term school holidays”. Term Two ends on July 6 in NSW.