Qld treasurer fears $10bn virus blow

Tracey Ferrier
Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said the crisis would have long-term ramifications for Qld's economy

Queensland could suffer a $10 billion body blow from coronavirus and no sector will be immune from the pain, the government has warned.

In a dire statement to parliament, Treasurer Jackie Trad said modelling suggested the budget could cop a $10 billion hit in the space of two financial years.

But she also said the rapidly unfolding nature of the crisis meant loss estimates were essentially obsolete as soon as they were made.

"Over two financial years, Queensland Treasury is estimating the impact could be as bad as $10 billion," she said on Tuesday.

"We are seeing an acceleration in the deterioration of economic conditions."

Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk told parliament the crisis would have long-term ramifications for the state's economy, and it was imperative to limit the spread of the virus.

"We know with what's to come ... unless we flatten that curve, slow this pandemic down, none of our hospitals will cope across the nation," she told parliament.

"It's not just Queensland, it's everywhere."

The state's coronavirus tally now stands at 78, up 10 on Monday, with about 3400 people self-quarantined in the state.

Queensland is expected to announce new measures to slow the infection rate after a meeting of health officials on Tuesday evening.

They are expected to focus on shielding the elderly, with the premier saying there'll be no stopping the virus if it gets into aged care homes.

The state government has called on banks to give businesses a fighting chance by offering interest-only repayments on loans and overdrafts to help with cashflow.

It also wants the federal government to ensure Centrelink payments are fast-tracked for people who lose their jobs.

But Ms Trad hopes expanded payroll tax holidays and concessional loans announced by her government on Tuesday will help keep businesses alive and as many Queenslanders as possible in their jobs.

Meanwhile, the state' education minister has said schools will stay open.

Grace Grace told parliament there was no need yet to be keeping students away from the classroom.

"If there is a need to close individuals schools these decisions will be made quickly based on further advice from health experts," she said.

One of the state's latest cases involves an an international tourist who travelled to Hamilton Island from Sydney, reportedly after returning a positive test for coronavirus.

A spokesperson for the island said the traveller was only there for a few hours before being isolated and transferred out on Monday afternoon.

Queensland Health had carried out contact tracing and the island had been deemed "low risk", the spokesperson said.

Meanwhile emergency measures are being taken to keep the water flowing and the lights on in Queensland.

Natural Resources and Energy Minister Anthony Lynham said key personnel at government-owned energy and water businesses are distancing themselvesfrom each other.

Critical supplies including coal and gas for power stations have been stockpiled, while mobile diesel generators have also been strategically placed around the state, and alternative power arrangements are in place for water treatment plants.