As we draw towards the close of the most challenging of years, I wanted to use this welcome message to take a few moments to reflect on the extraordinary effort and commitment of our political leaders and to pass on our appreciation.
As the devastating health, economic and community impacts of COVID-19 catapulted across the globe, in almost every measure Australia achieved remarkable success in containing and limiting the impact of the pandemic. There is no doubt that it was the leadership of the Prime Minister Scott Morrison, supported by Deputy Prime Minister Michael McCormack, that enabled Australia to move so decisively. The Prime Minister’s establishment of the National Cabinet was widely applauded, effectively throwing out the old, clunky COAG processes, and quickly aligning the support of Premiers and Chief Ministers to manage the crisis. It was federalism at its best, and hopefully it will leave a lasting legacy for better intergovernmental relationships.
The tiered structure of the National Cabinet saw each of the key portfolio Ministers connecting in a similar manner to focus on immediate responses and then with an eye to a post-COVID recovery. This was most evident in the tireless work of the Health Minister Greg Hunt. For much of this year, Minister Hunt, along with State and Territory Health Ministers and the respective chief health officers met almost daily to plan and drive our health response. Yes, Australians were frustrated with some of the restrictions brought about by the emergency medical responses, but just look at how Australia fared compared to most other developed nations. We have much to be thankful for via the work of each of our health ministers.
At the same time we had Ministers working to keep domestic and international supply chains open, unleashing the most successful economic and employment support intervention in history to keep businesses open and people employed, driving immediate responses to bring manufacturing of health PPE back to Australia and rebuilding our nation’s strategic manufacturing capability. We had our extraordinary defence personnel deployed across much of the nation to lend a hand, and at the State and Territory level, our front-line health workers have done a truly amazing job.
And this week – the Treasurer Josh Frydenberg gave us all the good news that Australia’s COVID induced recession was over with economic growth for the September quarter at 3.3 per cent following the 7 per cent collapse in the June quarter. Yes, to quote the Treasurer “we have a long, hard and bumpy road ahead”, but there is much to be thankful for as Australia heads into the traditional summer break.
To our clients and friends, on behalf of all of us at the SAS Group, can I extend to you our best wishes for the festive season and for a safe and happy Christmas. We look forward to working with you for what we all hope will be a great year ahead in 2021. Thank you.