COVID-19 has changed our lives forever. While the COVID-19 pandemic is still unfolding, a number of reforms have already started digging their heels in, both in terms of collateral damage and the co-benefits of fighting the virus.
Australia’s experience with a global pandemic, like in most countries around the world, is unprecedented.
- Investment in a Recycling Modernisation Fund to increase capacity to deal with waste
- 6 key areas of focus to bring back the economy on track
- Creation of 10,000 jobs as part of the economic recovery after COVID-19
- Australia plans to ban the export of many types of waste by 2024
The human tragedy and the economic knock-on consequences of the COVID-19 crisis ignited strong emotions. In even the most rational Australians the past few months have caused fear and confusion.
Coronavirus has done to Australia what even the global financial crisis couldn’t: abruptly end a record growth run and help trigger a deep recession from which the country will take time to recover.
While Australia has had great success so far in heading off the pandemic, with just over 100 deaths, the cure of shutting out the rest of the world means massive hits to three key growth drivers – tourism, education, and immigration.
Australian consumers and businesses are faced with a triple whammy:
- A significant and evolving public-health threat
- Severe, regulated restrictions on movement and everyday freedoms
- Rapid and deep financial pressures
This sentiment is anticipated and understandable, on the one hand, particularly for those who have suddenly become unemployed or are afraid they will. Forty percent of Australian households announce a decline in their household income, driven by the loss of full-time or part-time jobs by household members. Australia’s Treasury Department expects an unemployment rate of 10 percent, or 1.4 million unemployed Australians by the end of the second quarter.
The Australian government has announced an investment of A$ 190 million ( US$ 130 million) in the nation’s first Recycling Modernisation Program, aimed at transforming the waste and recycling industry in the country. The idea is that as many as 10,000 jobs will be generated in what is considered a “once in a lifetime” opportunity to reshape Australia’s way of managing its waste.
Australian economy on track for recovery from COVID-19:
As per the Australian Government, there are six key areas of focus:
- Crisis management and recovery
- The workforce of the future
- Operations and supply chain
- Finance and liquidity
- Tax and trade
- Strategy and brand
Building resilience in the wake of COVID-19 –
As businesses plan for the ‘new normal’ after the pandemic, leaders should consider these key issues:
- Incident management and scenario plans
- Effective and empathetic communication to stakeholders
- Robust business continuity planning
- Understand government priorities and policies
- Mapping the economic impact
Adapting to new ways of working after COVID-19 –
When we transition to new ways of operating after this pandemic, we need to tackle the areas that impact our people, such as returning to jobs, operating together, and upskilling.
When restrictions on COVID-19 start to ease across Australia, companies, and organizations will need to plan to reopen their companies. Yet it isn’t as easy as flicking a switch to get the workers back to work. During this adjustment time, issues arise.
Every company has its own unique set of challenges from reimagining hotdesk and meeting rooms to restarting brick-and-mortar factories and retail locations. Notwithstanding these difficulties, the firms are facing the same concerns. Where do you start? Why do you protect your people? Is there a fitting way forward?
The Australian Gov. has created some guidelines and considerations to help bring your people back to the workplace.
Operations and supply chain after COVID-19 –
Are the businesses better equipped for supply chain disruptions as the pandemic unfolds? Which are the strategies for resilience and recovery? Key observations:
- Identifying alternative supply chain scenarios
- Sourcing materials and parts
- Supplier management
- Pricing strategies
- Maintaining contact and call centers
Managing finance and liquidity in a volatile economic environment –
When companies continue to resume and we are adapting to a new era, CFOs must deal with a lot of questions. Both the Australian and global economic outlook would have significant consequences for finance. In particular, companies will need to concentrate on contingency planning as well as continuing to handle day-to-day activities and reporting responsibilities on financial and regulatory matters.
Guidance on tax obligations and relief for businesses and individuals affected by COVID-19 –
When companies develop their resilience across the pandemic, there are a number of business continuity decisions that can cause many tax enforcement and corporate governance issues around cash flow, workforce, and supply chain making.
The government has set different guidelines for businesses and individuals.
Rebuilding and strengthening your brand after COVID-19 –
As businesses shift after COVID-19, the focus will shift to building resilience:
- Listening to customer needs
- Review core markets and business models for changes resulting from COVID-19
- Protecting and growing your brand
The need for a drastic increase in recycling capability in Australia predates the COVID-19 pandemic. Australians produce about 67 million tons of waste a year, and, as in other rich countries, much of that has been sent overseas. This all changed when China revealed it was banning a large amount of global waste and recyclables from importing.
Waste Export Ban:
Australia has implemented a plan to regain care of its waste. Starting in January 2021, bans on the sale of different types of waste are phasing in. By mid-2024 the home-grown recycling industry in Australia will have to deal with an additional 650,000 tons of plastic waste, paper, glass, and tires.
Treasure out of Trash:
The environmental advantages of raising recycling rates are well known-less waste, less ocean plastic, less need for raw products, and lower carbon emissions. The Recycling Modernization Fund plan aims to remove more than 10 million tons of waste from landfill, as part of an overall strategy to reduce the total waste generated per person by 10% and to drive Australia ‘s overall resource recovery rate from 58% in 2017 to 80% by 2030.
Yet Australia, like other countries, is also focussing on the economic advantages of effective waste management.
As with the Australia Recycling Transformation Program, a mix of private industry and government spending will provide ways to get people back to work by creating a more sustainable economy.