Economy and trade

The Financial Stability Report (issued by the Reserve Bank of Australia on 8 April 2020) indicated that most households are well-placed with cash and equity buffers to face a large contraction in economic activity, following a number of years of prosperity in Australia. However, PWC estimate that COVID-19 could reduce Australia's GDP by AU$34.2 billion.

Key to watch will be the impact of China's demand on exports, as Australia's largest trading partner, which was down 17.2% in the first quarter of 2020.

Other macro indicators show the unemployment rate (at April 2020) increased to 6.2% and this is expected to rise for a number of periods going forward. The target cash rate has been set by the Reserve Bank of Australia at a historic low of 0.25% on 20th March, signalling that it will stay there for a significant period of time.

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Supply chain, logistics & freight

While Air and Sea freight is moving between countries, passenger travel is significantly restricted. Australian ports remain open for sea freight, however airfreight options are extremely limited.  Air New Zealand is operating a limited number of trans-Tasman flights with freight capacity and Qantas has a limited number of flights between Sydney and Auckland or Christchurch.

Non-essential domestic travel is restricted and people are being urged to stay at home where possible. Within Australia a number of states have introduced border restrictions (including 14 days quarantine for travellers between states) but key services, like health, freight and logistics, including those that travel across state's borders, will continue.

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If you are planning to travel to Australia, the Australian Government has announced that from 9pm AEDT 20 March 2020, only Australian citizens, residents and immediate family members can travel to Australia. Exemptions to travel restrictions do apply, including for New Zealand citizens who are usually residents in Australia (who will need to carry with them proof of residency). Please check before travelling. All travellers arriving in Australia must undertake a mandatory 14-day quarantine at designated facilities (for example, a hotel) under police supervision, in their port of arrival.

The number of domestic flights has been drastically reduced however, Qantas is still flying to major capital cities and some regional areas.

Please note: all travellers returning to New Zealand are subject to a mandatory 14-day stay at a Government-managed hotel. More information here.

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Tradeshow and event information

Numerous international tradeshows and events are being postponed or cancelled in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Make sure you proactively check with organisers for any tradeshow or event you're scheduled to attend – conditions and regulations are changing rapidly overseas, and events may be postponed or cancelled at short notice.

Below is the status of major Australia tradeshows and events that NZTE's teams are aware of.

If you have questions about an event not listed here, please contact the organisers in the first instance or get in touch with NZTE for further advice.

  • Primex Online Business Hub - Australia's first virtual Field Days event. Held annually in May to coincide with the end of Australia's financial year, the event will kick off on May 11th. More info here.

  • Food Service Australia has been postponed to 8 – 10 November 2020.

  • Land Forces have identified new dates from 1 – 3 June 2021 at the Brisbane Convention and Exhibition Centre (originally scheduled for 1 – 3 September 2020).

  • Avalon Air Show now been pushed back to November 2021 (originally proposed for Feb 2021).

  • BC:AC World, a joint venture between two of Australia's leading independent marketing services agencies, are running interesting webinars on how over 1,000 Australian households are thinking, feeling and acting in BC: AC (before COVID-19 and after COVID-19) world. All webinars recordings are available here.

  • evokeAG, Perth 2021 has been postponed to 15 – 16 February, 2022. More information available here.

Government support

To support households and businesses, Government in Australian has launched a number of significant economic responses to COVID-19.


In order to understand how the government is supporting business during this time it is useful to know that Australia has a three-tier system of Federal, State and local government. Australia is a federation of six states - Queensland, New South Wales, Victoria, South Australia, Tasmania, Western Australia and two self-governing territories of Australian Capital Territory and Northern Territory.

Federal government is responsible for managing defence, telecommunication, postal services, immigration and borders and money and social services. In the context of COVID-19, the Federal government has so far announced three stimulus packages to support the economy. Find out more about Federal Government support below.

State governments are responsible for managing their own police, transport, health, housing and education services. Premiers lead each of the states and are able to determine their own rules and response levels to the pandemic, which adds to the complexity. There is a range of support available at the State government level and depending on the state you do business in, you are best to refer to the relevant State government website. Find out more about State Government support below.

Within each state there are Local governments who are responsible for parks and gardens, roads, streets, bridges, libraries and swimming pool maintenance. The local governments manage a range of family, community and general services such as garbage collection and animal registration, and they also devise, approve and enforce local laws relating to building, planning and the health and wellbeing of the community.

Useful links

Video insights

Export support
Last updated: 1 Jun 2020
COVID-19 Market Realities: Australian tech, 25 May

NZTE Commercial Business Advisor, Greg Harrison, speaks with industry advisor & founding MD for Xero in Australia, Chris Ridd, about tech.

Read more
Export support
Last updated: 18 May 2020
COVID-19 Market Realities: Australian Defence, 7 May

Graeme Solloway, NZTE Programme Lead – Australia Defence, speaks to defence specialist, Kim Gillis, about opportunities in Australia’s defence sector.

Read more
Export support
Last updated: 13 May 2020
COVID-19 Market Realities: Food & Beverage in Australia, 11 May

On 11 May, NZTE Food and Beverage experts Hamish Campbell and Peter Winter hosted a live Q&A session about the Australian Food and Beverage Market.

Watch now
Export support
Last updated: 11 May 2020
COVID-19 Market Realities: Australia infrastructure, 7 May

The infrastructure sector is still full steam ahead with projects like Aerotropolis and Western Sydney Airport providing long-term opportunities.

Read more
Export support
Last updated: 15 Apr 2020
COVID-19 Market Realities: Australia market overview, 14 April

Alan Munro (Regional Director, NZTE, Australia-Pacific) gives an overview of which sectors in Australia are surviving or thriving...

Read more
Export support
Last updated: 14 Apr 2020
Video insights: Australia's consumer brands retail sector, 6 April

Get the latest update on what's happening in Australia's consumer brands retail sector right now. In this interview, Bella Katz...

Read more

Sector insights

Bushfire response
Consumer brands - retail
Food and beverage
Tourism in Australia

Additional resources

Below you can find information and contact details for other New Zealand government and international agencies regarding their response to COVID-19.

New Zealand Government agencies
COVID-19 helpline for businesses
New Zealand Customs
Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI)
New Zealand Export Credit (NZEC)
MFAT Export Helpline
MFAT Safetravel
Callaghan Innovation
Ministry of Health
WorkSafe New Zealand

Global agencies

World Health Organization (WHO)
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)

Contact NZTE

We're available to talk to you about any issues your export business is facing due to COVID-19.

For existing NZTE customers, please contact your New Zealand-based Customer Manager.

If you're unsure who to contact or haven't worked with us before, you can call NZTE on 0800 555 888 or email below and one of our Customer Advisors will help you.