Jim Chalmers claims vaccine failures has cost businesses and workers billions

Labor shadow treasurer Jim Chalmers. Picture: Sitthixay Ditthavong
Labor shadow treasurer Jim Chalmers. Picture: Sitthixay Ditthavong

Federal Labor claims ongoing lockdowns caused by vaccine failures has cost the economy upwards of $80 billion.

The claims of a major financial hit are detailed in an upcoming speech from Labor treasury spokesman Jim Chalmers at the Business Council of Australia, saying the Morrison government's complacency over vaccine distribution has pushed back the economic recovery.

The speech, set to be delivered on Thursday, will also set to underpin Labor's economic strategy going into election season, with an emphasis on sustainable job creation which bolsters the recovery beyond the pandemic.

Based BCA modelling, Dr Chalmers said businesses and workers had been impacted by an $85 billion loss brought on by the Delta third wave.

The speech to the peak business body is also set to coincide with the unveil of the latest unemployment figures, which are expected to show how lockdowns in August impacted job numbers.

Australia's July unemployment figure was 4.6 per cent.

"A first-rate recovery was never possible with a third-rate vaccine rollout," Dr Chalmers said in an excerpt of his speech which has been obtained by TheCanberra Times.

"Your own BCA analysis last week estimated the current lockdowns in NSW, Victoria and the ACT are costing the economy $3 billion per week plus another $1.3 billion per week from closed international borders.

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"That means these lockdowns caused by failures on vaccines and quarantine will likely cost Australian businesses and workers somewhere in the ballpark of $85 billion."

Dr Chalmers also notes the ballooning deficit caused by unprecedented stimulus measures during the pandemic will take years to pay back and is expected to hinder Australia's longer term economic growth.

"Despite this government racking up more than $1 trillion in debt and delivering eight years of deficits with at least another forty to come, Australia's economy will grow more slowly over the next 40 years than it did during the last 40 years," he said.

"By then the debt interest bill will cost the equivalent of $35.7 billion today, which is more expensive than the entire NDIS."

Dr Chalmers is expected to attack the government's vaccine procurement and the lack of commitment to build dedicated hotel quarantine facilities, both of which would have assisted in preventing current lockdowns.

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This story Vaccine failures will cost the economy billions: Labor first appeared on The Canberra Times.

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