The Prime Minister has warned the economy will be “hit by a truck” by the coronavirus and promised to fast-track infrastructure projects and an aggressive pro-business investment strategy to help the budget claw its way back.

“The GFC was an entree compared to what this is, this is on a whole other level. On the economy we have some really bad news coming our way … this thing is going to hit like a truck.”
Economists are forecasting a deficit for this financial year of at least $60 billion, blowing out to more than $100 billion in the next financial year.
The Reserve Bank of Australia and Treasury have warned the government’s current economic policy framework was inadequate for the task ahead, with Mr Morrison this week leaving open the option of breaking election promises if need be.
Senior government figures on Friday flagged the potential return to cutting the company tax rate for big business and a possible aggressive overhaul of the nation’s industrial relations framework.
In August 2018, the Coalition was forced to abandon its plan to cut the corporate rate to 25 per cent for firms with a turnover of more than $50 million because it could not secure the support of the Senate crossbench.
Mr Morrison warned Australians more bad economic news was to come but would not bow to the “inevitability” of an economic depression, saying programs such as the JobKeeper wage subsidy were designed to cushion the economic blow.
Ratings agency S&P Global, which now expects Australian unemployment to average 7.4 per cent this year and remain elevated until at least 2023, said the economies of the Asia-Pacific would change because of the virus outbreak.
The firm’s Asia-Pacific chief economist, Shaun Roache, said enduring unemployment would result in lower spending, higher savings and stress on some of the region’s more leveraged households.
“The structure of demand is likely to change – think less travel, more healthcare,” he said.
Finance Minister Mathias Cormann promised on Friday the government would keep taxes “as low as possible” but “as high as necessary” to fund essential services.
“We are certainly not focusing on increasing the tax burden on the economy at a time when we want to pursue stronger economic growth and a strong economic bounce back on the other side,” Senator Cormann told Sky News Australia.
Opposition Leader Anthony Albanese warned the federal government against a return to its “old ideological position of attacking the rights of working people”.
“If the government’s response post this crisis is to further undermine our unions and to attack wages and conditions of working people, then that will not help the recovery. It will not help growth,” Mr Albanese said.
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Rob Harris is the National Affairs Editor for The Sydney Morning Herald and The Age, based at Parliament House in Canberra
Shane is a senior economics correspondent for The Age and The Sydney Morning Herald.