The Federal Government’s budget for 2020 to 2021 has highlighted the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the nation’s finances, according to the Actuaries Institute of Australia.
Actuaries Institute president Hoa Bui said Australia’s record budget deficit is the result of not only COVID-19 but also a host of other factors. As a result, the government introduced reforms affecting the distribution of superannuation in the “Your Future, Your Super” package. Meanwhile, Actuaries Institute chief executive Elayne Grace said the government’s fiscal response to the pandemic had been sufficient to date - however, it will still take a long time for the country to recover.
“Some reforms will understandably now take longer to develop, but the government should not lose sight of the need to implement policy initiatives in a number of areas to instil resilience and sustainability into the economy. We do applaud the government’s initiative to support women, particularly through initiatives for STEM education measures,” Grace said.
The institute also welcomed the government’s decision to increase funding for mental health initiatives as the lockdown and other natural disasters impact mental health and increase the number of suicide and domestic violence cases.
“We acknowledge that $20.9 million has been allocated for disaster risk reduction as part of a broader $130.5 million package over five years from 2019 to 2020 to support resilience to disasters triggered by natural hazards,” Bui said.
“But we trust that the Royal Commission into National Natural Disaster Arrangements, due to report later this month, will recommend the creation of greater natural disaster resilience measures to combat the escalating economic impacts of climate change. Timely investment to mitigate the potential impact of climate change will protect future budgets from significant adverse effects.”