Aussies’ new staggered work times

By | May 10, 2020

Authorities have begun planning for the resumption of normal trading with the Commonwealth and state governments readying for the associated influx of people on public transport.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison on Friday mapped out the national cabinet’s planned three-step easing of restrictions and set an aspirational July target for the return of most employees to their workplaces.

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Australia has recorded 6941 cases of COVID-19, with 3053 in New South Wales, 1487 in Victoria, 1045 in Queensland, 439 in South Australia, 552 in Western Australia, 227 in Tasmania, 107 in the Australian Capital Territory and 30 in the Northern Territory.

Australia’s death toll is at 97.

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Businesses are being urged to stagger the times employees start and finish work ahead of a planned easing of COVID-19 restrictions over the coming months.

Authorities have begun planning for the resumption of normal trading with the Commonwealth and state governments readying for the associated influx of people on public transport.
Prime Minister Scott Morrison on Friday mapped out the national cabinet’s planned three-step easing of restrictions and set an aspirational July target for the return of most employees to their workplaces.
National Chief Medical Officer Brendan Murphy says authorities will convene a meeting on Monday to discuss the gradual return of commuters to public transport.
He said increased numbers on buses and trains would create challenges around maintaining social distancing.
“One of the most important things is to reduce the density,” Professor Murphy said on Sunday.
“Social distancing is not possible when you are crowded. We are very keen, for those who are working from home to continue working from home for the time being.” Public transport agencies have already introduced COVID-19 safety measures, including increased cleaning of carriages, and Prof Murphy said hand sanitiser would need to be supplied for commuters.
He said the government was looking at ways to spread out passengers. “But we are also keen for employers and employees to look at staggered start and finish times,” he said.
“I think we have to think about a very different way of people may be starting at work, some starting at seven o’clock, some starting at 10 o’clock and people finishing at different times.
“We have to think differently about that so there is a lot of planning going on in the meantime.
“The message – go back to work. But if it works for you and your employer, continue to work from home.”

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– Steve Zemek, AAP

The Morrison government is being urged against hastily repairing the federal budget by raising taxes or cutting spending because it would risk further damaging the economy and the employment outlook.
Deloitte Access Economics economist Chris Richardson is forecasting massive budget deficits over the next few years and a slump in economic growth as a result of the coronavirus pandemic.
In his respected Budget Monitor released on Monday, Mr Richardson predicts a huge budget deficit of $ 142.1 billion for the 2019/20 financial year, dwarfing the modest $ 5 billion surplus that had been forecast by the government in December.

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For 2020/21 the deficit remains a large $ 131.6 billion.
But Mr Richardson says rapid budget repair would be “misguided”.

“The budgetary damage isn’t structural, but the damage to our economy and our jobs would be if we start raising taxes and cutting spending,” he says. He expects average annual economic growth will be flat this financial year before tumbling six per cent in in 2020/21, with the unemployment rate lifting to 6.5 per cent and 8.5 per cent in these respective years.
The Australian Treasury has forecast an unemployment peak of 10 per cent in the June quarter.
Mr Richardson said Australia’s defence against the coronavirus has been “world- leading’ but beating back the virus isn’t enough.
“The ‘mission accomplished’ signs can’t be put up until unemployment is back at five per cent. On our forecasts, that doesn’t happen until late 2024,” he said. “Our nation will begin its recovery with unemployment high, the private sector scared, the Reserve Bank tapped out and prices for our key exports weak.” He said that’s why there is a very strong case for federal and state governments accepting a further period of high deficits and championing a new round of much needed economic reforms.
He said for the first time governments will have to drive unemployment down without the help of the Reserve Bank because the central bank has already cut the cash rate as far as it is willing to go to just 0.25 per cent.

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While Mr Richardson usually releases the Monitor ahead of the May budget, this year Treasurer Josh Frydenberg won’t be handing down the 2020/21 budget until October because of the COVID-19 crisis.
However, Mr Frydenberg will be giving a statement on the state of the economy when parliament sits on Tuesday.
– Colin Brinsden, AAP

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