Bloomberg Australia: A lot can change in 12 months

Bloomberg Australia

Welcome to our weekly newsletter — a fresh, global perspective on the stories that matter for Australian business and politics. This week: What to look out for in the federal budget, the safest place to sit on an airplane, and using drones to rescue wildlife.

Less than 12 months ago, the government was still talking up its chances of delivering the first budget surplus in more than a decade. But when Treasurer Josh Frydenberg gets to his feet in Canberra on Tuesday night, it will be a very different economic narrative.

Instead, he will lay out a rescue plan for the economy, with infrastructure spending and accelerated tax cuts providing a springboard to resuscitate growth and restore jobs.

The budget deficit for 2020-21 is expected to blow out to A$220 billion, or 11.6% of gross domestic product, according to the median estimate from a Bloomberg survey of economists. That's A$35.5 billion wider than Treasury's July forecast and shows the impact of border closures — both international and domestic — and the Melbourne lockdown. Unemployment is set to rise to 8% by the middle of next year, from the current 6.8%, according to the survey.

Bloomberg economics correspondent Michael Heath has crunched the numbers: Here's what to expect in Frydenberg's rescue plan.

Flight Risk

Just how safe is it to fly?

The airline industry is trying hard to woo wary customers, saying the chances of catching the virus on an airplane are low, largely because aircraft are fitted with hospital-grade filters. However research published this week is likely to heighten nerves.

Scientists from Western Australia analyzed genome sequencing of passengers infected on a five-hour flight from Sydney to Perth on March 19. Eleven people were infectious on the plane: almost all of them had disembarked the cruise ship Ruby Princess earlier that day.

While the infectious passengers were almost evenly split between the middle and the rear of the cabin, all 11 secondary infections were found in the middle of the aircraft in economy class, the study showed. Seven were also in window seats, contradicting the widely held view that such seats have a lower risk of pathogen exposure. Read more here.

Drones to the Rescue

In last week's newsletter, we looked at how drones can fast-track the recovery from bushfires by reseeding scorched forests. The flying machines are also being used to help rescue animals, as climate change takes an increasingly deadly toll on wildlife.

For the past year, a California videographer named Douglas Thron has chased climate catastrophes around the world, piloting drones outfitted with infrared cameras and spotlights to help find stricken animals. After Thron locates the animals, wildlife rescuers can move them to safety.

He's worked in the Bahamas, which was hit by a Category Five hurricane last year. And he packed his drones and flew to Australia to help rescue koalas endangered by bushfires. One of his first stops was Kangaroo Island. Watch incredible footage of his work here.

Burned trees on Kangaroo Island on Jan. 16.

Photographer: PETER PARKS/AFP

What We're Reading 

A few things from around the world that caught our attention:


De-globalization or re-globalization? Following the pandemic, will companies move their supply chains out of China? Join us virtually on Oct. 6 at 1 p.m. Hong Kong/Singapore time (GMT+8) to hear insights from Australia & New Zealand Banking Group Executive International, Institutional Farhan Faruqui, U.K. Trade Commissioner for Asia Pacific Natalie Black and FutureMap founder Parag Khanna. Register for free here to be a part of this live, interactive conversation, or to access all content on-demand at your convenience.


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