Australia lowers long-term population, economic growth forecasts due to Covid-19

Australia expects a population of 38.8 million by 2061, down from its 2015 forecast of 40 million by 2056. PHOTO: EPA-EFE

CANBERRA (REUTERS) - Australia lowered its projections on Sunday (June 27) for population and economic growth over the next 40 years due to the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Canberra closed its international borders in March last year to all but citizens and permanent residents in an attempt to prevent the spread of the virus. The government says it will reopen borders to migrants only when it believes it is safe to do so.

Australia now expects its population to total 38.8 million by 2061, down from its last forecast in 2015 of 40 million by 2056.

Its population currently totals 26 million.

"The economy will be smaller and Australia's population will be older than it otherwise would have been, with flow-on implications for our economic and fiscal outcomes," Australia's Treasurer Josh Frydenberg was set to say on Monday, according to extracts of a speech seen by Reuters.

Population growth has been the primary driver of Australia's economic growth in recent decades.

But with growth slowing and its population growing older, Canberra now expects the economy to grow at 2.6 per cent a year over the next 40 years, compared with its previous forecast of 3 per cent a year.

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