WWII vet flags new Great Depression

By LACHLAN MORRIS

The economic fallout from COVID-19 in Australia, especially after such a rampant bushfire season, could be reminiscent of the Great Depression, says a local WWII veteran.

Lawrie Johnston, 95, is concerned that if the current crisis is anything like the Great Depression he lived through, society may not have yet seen the worst where COVID-19 is concerned economically.

“A lot of these people that are out of a job now won’t go back, there won’t be any jobs for them”, He says.

“The way the government got out of it in those days was to build roads and they would employ people for the government and they would put them on what was known as sustenance.”

In Australia by 1932, a third of the entire country’s labour force was left without a job causing the unemployment rate to rise to 32 per cent.

Before COVID-19, the large-scale bushfires that ravaged the east coast of Australia had already hurt the economy.

While current unemployment rates are nowhere near the heights of the Great Depression, they are still significant enough to be worrying with the official rate at around 6.2 per cent.

Further Grattan Institute research shows that the peak could reach around 15 per cent.

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