The Morrison Government’s failure to acquire vaccines on time or to build proper quarantine facilities resulted in decline in GDP of 1.9 per cent – $18.9 billion smaller than projected in the budget.
The true cost will be much higher, today’s figures only measure economic output in the July to September quarter, yet lockdowns continued into October.
The figures also do not capture the human cost of the last outbreak: the deaths, hospitalisations, the workers losing hours and families thrown into poverty, and the exhaustion of front-line workers and lives put on hold.
Quotes attributable to ACTU Secretary Sally McManus:
“The Morrison Governments vaccine strollout has cost the economy $18.9 billion compared to budget estimates in the September quarter alone.
“The cost of providing federal-administered quarantine facilities – $2billion on some estimates – pales in comparison.
“It would have cost nothing for the Government to act with urgency and put all their effort into winning the race to get the nation vaccinated before the inevitable outbreaks in substandard hotel quarantine that caused lockdowns across the country.
“There are other untold costs for the Morrison Government’s inaction – lives lost, hospitalisations, jobs gone, mental health stress, small businesses closed and frontline health workers exhaustion.
“The vaccine strollout in the most damaging act of inaction by a government in terms of the toll paid by each and every Australian. The effects will be felt for years to come.”