Minister Defends Australia’s Budget Reliance on CCP Virus Vaccine

October 4, 2020 Updated: October 6, 2020

A day before the Australian government hands down its federal budget one of its chief authors has defended basing financial forecasts on the availability of a CCP virus vaccine.

Senator Mathias Cormann, the finance minister, said Australia’s federal budget estimates have always been based on the best information and advice available at any one point in time.

He said there was a strong likelihood of a vaccine at some stage in 2021.

“A vaccine is entirely material when it comes to our future economic fortunes,” he told reporters in Canberra on Oct. 5.

“We are spending a lot of money in relation to getting access for all Australians to a vaccine that is expected to come on stream at some point in the future,” he said.

When putting the budget together, Cormann said the government seeks advice from a variety of areas of government, including the health department, “in relation to matters that have a direct consequence in terms of our future economic fortunes.”

He said that the estimates would change if information changes.

Jim Chalmers, the opposition shadow treasurer, is waiting to see the financial forecasts before casting judgement.

But he pointed out the budget update in July was based on the assumption that international borders would reopen in January and Melbourne would not be locked down a second time.

“It was based on a whole lot of rosy assumptions which fed the prime minister’s absurd assumption that the economy would come roaring back to life in the last weekend of September,” Chalmers told reporters.

“We always said that was a ridiculous assumption that was being used. The government doesn’t have a good record on anticipating what’s going on in the economy.”

The federal budget is due to be released on Oct. 6, with speculation the debt ceiling will go above $1 trillion amid an economic recession brought on the CCP (Chinese Communist Party) virus, commonly known as novel coronavirus.

The fallout from the CCP virus pandemic has seen a 4.5 percent contraction in the global economy. The finance minister compared the contraction to the Global Financial Crisis which only saw a 0.1 percent contraction.

Although Australia went into the pandemic with a comparatively stronger position than other countries, Cormann said: “This has been a massive hit on our economy.”

Cormann on Oct. 2 released $808.8 million to the health department for initial payments to vaccine developers in Australia and overseas.

Follow Caden on Twitter: @cadenpearson