Australia announced a $17.6bn stimulus package to recover from Covid © Luis Ascui/Getty Images
Australia announced a $17.6bn stimulus package to recover from Covid © Luis Ascui/Getty Images

Top 10 Australia and NZ stories of 2020

4 January 2021

SM looks back at the most popular stories from Australia and New Zealand in 2020. 

1. Australia could take 10 years to recover from coronavirus

The Australian government announced a $17.6bn stimulus package to help see the country’s economy through the effects of the coronavirus outbreak.

Despite the financial aid, an advisory report by KPMG warned Australia’s economy could take 10 years to recover from the effects of the virus.

2. Why has Australia updated its procurement rules?

Australia updated its public procurement rules to boost its domestic defence industrial supply chain by tightening up requirements to provide opportunities for local companies.

The Department of Defence said the federal government had amended Commonwealth Procurement Rules to emphasise achieving value for money by developing domestic capabilities and skills.

3. NZ to release rock lobsters as coronavirus impacts demand

New Zealand announced it would release tonnes of rock lobsters after Chinese demand was impacted by the outbreak of coronavirus. 

Sudden falls in demand for the delicacy – also called crayfish – from mainland China, meant live lobsters awaiting export would go to waste unless they were returned to the sea. 

4. Indigenous Procurement Policy 'not implemented properly'

A watchdog found that a scheme to ensure Indigenous Australians participate in public sector contracts was undermined by inadequate implementation and delays.

The Australian National Audit Office said the government’s Indigenous Procurement Policy (IPP) had been well designed but had not lived up to expectations.

5. Qantas cuts flights due to coronavirus

A slump in demand caused by the coronavirus forced Qantas to reduce flights across Asia as the disease threatened Australian supply chains.

Qantas announced the temporary reduction in the company’s half-year financial results, where it said the net profit impact of coronavirus was estimated at between $100m-$150m for 2020.

6. Sodexo prison management contract halted early

The Melaleuca female prison facility was returned to Western Australia’s state management ahead of the end of a contract.

The return to public management followed a report by inspectors that showed poor facilities and prisoner services under facilities firm Sodexo, including the lack of a library, gymnasium and recreational facilities.

7. Supply chains could be jammed by Covid restrictions on shipping

Australia faced a potential shipping deadlock due to quarantine regulations governing crews arriving in the country.

Ships around Australia sounded their horns in support of their seafarers, who have been caught by the country’s attempts to keep out new coronavirus cases.

Shipping Australia said the industry, domestically and internationally, was “at crisis point”.

8. South Australia reforms public procurement

The South Australia Government announced a new procurement body to centralise and streamline processes.

The overhaul of the function was set to bring together the procurement of construction, goods and services to help make tendering for work simpler for local businesses. 

9. Defence 'megaproject' has procurement lessons

An audit into the Australian Department of Defence's $80bn “megaproject” to acquire a new submarine fleet has provided procurement lessons for future government operations.

An audit report by the Australian National Audit Office examined the Department of Defence’s handling of the Future Submarine programme amid delays and a burgeoning budget.

10. Australia passed new laws against price gouging

Australia passed new laws against price gouging after people were found to be reselling essential goods at inflated prices.

“We have acted decisively to address concerns about the hoarding and profiteering of essential goods, such as personal protective gear, disinfectants and other medical products and have introduced tough penalties for price gouging,” said home affairs minister Peter Dutton.

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