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(Australian Associated Press)
Australian businesses concerned about the impact of the coronavirus are seeking advice rather than financial support from the federal government, a Senate committee has heard.
Prime Minister Scott Morrison says the government is working on a targeted financial package to support businesses and individuals as COVID-19 impacts on the economy.
Chris Locke, head of strategic policy at the Department of Industry, Science, Energy and Resources, was asked during a Senate estimates hearing whether any requests for assistance from specific industries had been made to the department.
“It is a rapidly evolving situation.There is significant interest in this topic all across the economy,” Dr Locke told the Senate economics committee in Canberra on Wednesday.
“No request for dollars at this stage but they are looking for advice from government to inform their judgements on how long the situation might last.”
The department is also getting feedback from industries on the problems that are emerging as the impact of the virus bites.
“They are telling us about what they are doing to find alternative markets and supply chains,” Dr Locke said.
“They”ll be looking, we would expect, at some point to government for assistance in that.”
The tourism industry and the education sector is known to be suffering because of the travel ban stopping visitors and students entering Australia from China, the epicentre of COVID-19.