By: Sergio Correa, Managing Director Daabon Australia
Australia is one of the most successful countries in the world to handle the medical challenges of COVD-19 with a total of 909 deaths for a population of 25 million. For some, any number is big and for others 909 deaths is insignificant compared to any other winter flu season. To understand the success of Australia we need to consider a few factors such as:
•Australia is, geographically, a very remote island and is capable to control international borders very easy compared to other nations.
•It has only 25 million habitants with a population density of 3.4 persons per square kilometer making it one of the most sparsely populated countries in the world.
•The country is extremely wealthy (2019 GDP per capita of $55,060 USD, Source: Worldbank), and its people have created enough wealth over the past 30 years to accept and be able to overcome very strict lock down measures.
•The level of education, respect for the law and collectivistic mentality is high.
Considering the above its very difficult to compare other countries with Australia.
The federal government’s strategy against COVID-19 was more focused on eradication rather than control. During the initial wave we reached very low number of COVID-19 cases and we went into an early national lock down. Once it was controlled the responsibility was passed to each state’s government. Since then, the only state that had a second wave was Victoria. Daabon Organic Australia (DOA) is located in Melbourne, Victoria, so we underwent four months of lock down, while the rest of the country remained open. This second wave was caused by a failure in the hotel quarantine system, which the Victorian government set up, as they repatriated Australians that had been stranded around the globe. The learning from this failure was investigated and fixed, leading to shorter and strict lockdown measures, whenever community translation was detected. Following this, a small number of outbreaks were controlled by three to five days of localized lock downs together with very advanced tracing programs.
The initial economic impact for the federal government was estimated at over AUD$150 billion in order to fund the main economic support programs: Job keeper, Job seeker and pay-as-you-go (PAYG) support for companies. This values each lost live at over AUD$150 million, but the reality is that the government investment was focused not only on peoples live but more towards the survival of the economy.
Two very important industries have been affected, international education and tourism. International education is the main source of income for most universities in Australia, leaving many universities having to reinvent their business models. In the case of tourism, similar to the rest of the world, no flights mean no travelers, so millions has been dependent of government support to keep afloat (agencies, hotels, restaurants, venues, bars, clubs…etc.). These two industries have affected a few of our key customers and have pushed DOA to move faster into new segments for our brand-new refinery.
Twelve months later since the pandemic started, Australia’s economy is the example to the world, unemployment level is improving (6.4%, Jan. 2021, Source: ABS), property prices are moving up, the Australian dollar has strength and live appears normal for most. At DOA, we look forward to a revamped 2021, welcoming new customers from multiple sectors to visit and audit our refinery in order to benefit from our latest technologies in contaminants reduction and control.
Its always easy to justify that with money most challenges are easy to overcome, but I still believe that Australia’s handling of the pandemic has been fantastic. Time will tell if the economic cost and separation of the rest of the world is worth it.