To help Australians successfully get back to work in a displaced labour market, and in response to Prime Minister Scott Morrison’s policy challenge for new ideas and initiatives, SAP Australia issues a public policy paper that outlines how technology can support governments to drive a secure and accelerated economic recovery following the COVID19 outbreak.
The COVID19 crisis has created a one-in-a-hundred-year event which has caused unprecedented global health and economic shock—a pandemic of this scale has not been seen since the Spanish Flu in the early 20th Century—threatening the livelihoods of many and bringing down businesses. According to the International Monetary Fund (IMF), the world economy is forecasted to contract by 3 percent this year, which is significantly higher than the 0.1 percent decrease in 2009, during the global financial crisis (GFC).
Governments all over the world are burdened with the challenge of dealing with the economic fallout from the coronavirus outbreak. Adding to that challenge is the fact that history has shown that pandemics are followed by extended periods of falling investment, with economic impacts lingering for a long time.
The Australian government has been one of the world’s leaders in efficient and effective policy response following the outbreak and has taken critical and decisive actions in time to save lives and avoid the fate of many other nations. Early border restrictions and lockdown policies, comprehensive and coordinated action by the National Cabinet and a world-class health system have contributed to this result.
Now though, as the country shifts its focus towards economic recovery, the country is faced with the glaring impact of the COVID19 crisis on domestic unemployment. The Australian Treasury is forecasting the unemployment rate to reach around 10 percent—equivalent to 1.4 million unemployed—in the June quarter, with the 5 percentage point increase expected to occur over three months. Further, between March and April, the number of jobs decreased by 7.5 percent and the wages bill paid by businesses decreased by 8.2 percent. All these resulting in an expected decrease of around 16 percent in overall household consumption.
Australia: Getting Back to Work in the New Economy
According to SAP Australia, top priority should be placed on assisting Australians so they can quickly get back to paid work and get back in control of loan and mortgage repayments. To successfully revive the economy, Australians must be empowered so they can confidently spend on goods and services again.
To achieve this, the SAP policy paper focuses on six vital recommendations in leveraging technology to connect job seekers and employers, as well as maintain and create jobs by supporting local businesses in navigating the post-COVID19 economy:
- A Data-Driven Policy Response to Unemployment
- Digitising Small and Medium Enterprises
- A More Responsive Public Service
- A More Efficient Public Service
- Applying Digital Engineering to Infrastructure Projects
- Smarter Borders
These recommendations focus on utilising technology platforms and big data partnered with experience management platforms that can provide actionable insights into the job market to inform the development of new policies and programs that will get Australians back to work in the “new normal” economy.
Further, supporting the digital transformation of small enterprises—which account for 35 percent of the country’s GDP and employ close to 44 percent of the country’s workforce—to drive innovation and increase productivity is vital to creating resilient businesses that can sustain employees and help them get back to work faster as Australia revives economic activity.
As Damien Bueno, President and Managing Director of SAP Australia said in an interview:
“The new normal should borrow techniques from the software world, where products are released early and then quickly ‘iterated’ upon as flaws and insufficiencies appear.”