RESTRICTIONS STILL IN PLACE
Victoria state eases restrictions while state capital Melbourne remains on strict lockdown till Sep 27.
- Victoria – Australia’s second-most populous state – reported on Sep 24 that new COVID-19 cases dropped to a 3-month low. While the state has moved down to ‘Step 3’ of its roadmap out of lockdown, state capital Melbourne remains under ‘hard’ lockdown until Sep 27.
- Local businesses have launched a class action against the state government, citing government liability for business losses caused by potentially avoidable shutdowns.
- States elsewhere in Australia are seeking to relax on border restrictions as case numbers dwindled.
- PM Scott Morrison announced that more citizens will be allowed to return home each week, after states agreed to boost quarantine capacity in a cabinet meeting.
- Policymakers are re-looking at the manufacturing sector in its longer-term recovery plan to generate some growth and pull the country out of the COVID-19 slump.
- This comes following the realisation that Australia has been too reliant on Asia for the supply of essential goods. Recently worsening relations with China, the nation’s biggest trading partner, is certainly a contributing factor – just on Sep 1, China suspended barley imports from Australia’s largest grain exporter.
- On Aug 26, a fresh stimulus of A$1 billion is earmarked to boost defense spending and support 4,000 jobs as part of the JobMaker plan.
IMPACT ON FOOD SUPPLY CHAIN
- Melbourne city may ease restrictions for certain industries, including manufacturing plants and warehouses, on Sep 28 if increases to the average daily cases continue to remain below 50. However, it is likely that other non-essential businesses will have to stay closed.
- Victoria has a huge food and beverage industry footprint. With the easing of restrictions around the state (except for Melbourne), it is anticipated that disruptions to the grocery supply chain will be minimised.