Asia St: Australia Navigates Lingering Pandemic Challenges

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Australia Navigates Lingering Pandemic Challenges

July 12, 2021

Australian Trade Minister Dan Tehan (Photo Credit: Wikimedia Commons).

BGA’s Australia team, led by Managing Director Fergus Hanson, wrote an update to clients on recent political, economic and business developments in Australia. The update addressed the ongoing pandemic and the implications for the current government and businesses.

Context

Australia is still struggling with aspects of pandemic management. Vaccine rollout remains slow, resulting in lockdowns in two of the country’s main population hubs – Melbourne and Sydney.

Australia is looking to diversify its export markets away from China and secure travel bubbles. A case in point is Trade Minister Dan Tehan’s ongoing two-week mission across the Indo-Pacific covering Singapore, Vietnam, South Korea, Japan and the United States.

Significance

Australia’s slow vaccine rollout is the most critical issue heading to elections, likely to be held in early 2022. The federal government has brought forward deliveries of the Pfizer vaccine and cut international arrival caps. The freight industry has warned it could be impacted by the latter.

The business community has become increasingly critical of the slow pace of the vaccine rollout, continued lockdowns and the difficulty bringing executives in from overseas. Some of Australia’s biggest businesses have agreed to urge their staff to get vaccinated and provide incentives to customers who have been vaccinated.

Implications

Businesses may need to adjust assumptions as Covid continues to pose a challenge to the Asia-Pacific. Australia as well as some key countries in the region, including Indonesia and India, continue to struggle with aspects of pandemic management.

The current situation could affect upcoming political and economic developments. There is speculation that the next sitting of Parliament, scheduled for August, will be pushed back. Some states have banned travelers from Canberra due to its proximity to Sydney.

BGA’s Australia team will continue to keep you updated on developments at home and abroad as they occur and assess the implications for companies and other stakeholders.