HomeBuilder grant during Australian recession to kickstart economy, COVID-19 cases surpass 6.4 million worldwide, Australia death toll at 102

HomeBuilder grant during Australian recession to kickstart economy, COVID-19 cases surpass 6.4 million worldwide, Australia death toll at 102

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The scale of Australia’s first recession in 30 years is becoming clear, with retail sales collapsing in April and Prime Minister Scott Morrison likening the coronavirus to a torpedo hitting the economy and federal budget.

Just a day after the March-quarter national accounts showed the economy contracting by 0.3 per cent, the first month of sales data for the June quarter showed shoppers disappearing from malls and high streets across the country.

Police officers watch as people queue at a Coles supermarket in Epping, Sydney in March.Credit:AAP

Total sales dropped 17.7 per cent in April after rising 8.5 per cent in March. Victoria was the hardest hit, with sales there tumbling 21.1 per cent. They dropped by 17.5 per cent in NSW, 15.7 per cent in Queensland and 16.8 per cent in Western Australia.

Pandemic-related closures and social-distancing resulted in sales of clothing and footwear slumping almost 54 per cent in the month. Sales nationally were just $771 million in April, the lowest monthly result since May 1995.

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