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Treasurer flags steps to ease economic pain as he reveals cost of Victoria’s second lockdown

Federal Treasurer Josh Frydenberg has revealed the staggering cost of Melbourne’s six-week return to lockdown, and flagged measures under consideration to ease the economic hit.

Mr Frydenberg says the shutdown will cost the national economy an estimated $6 billion.

“It could be up to $1 billion a week,” he told Neil Mitchell.

“It means jobs, it means wages and it means overall economic activity.

“It just means the recovery, both speed and trajectory, will be that much harder.”

But it’s not just Victoria that’ll suffer economically as a result of the lockdown.

“What happens in Victoria affects the rest of the country. I mean, Victoria is a quarter of the national economy,” he said.

The Treasurer said bringing forward tax cuts which are already legislated is “certainly an option” to help Victorians cope with the economic hit.

From mid-2022, the top income threshold for the 19 per cent tax bracket is set to rise from $41,000 to $45,000, while further tax changes are slated for July 2024.

Melbourne’s second lockdown is set to end in late August, and Mr Frydenberg did not rule out the extension of JobKeeper beyond September.

“There’s going to be another phase of income support, the details of which we will announce on the 23rd of July,” he said.

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Image: Sam Mooy / Getty