Health Minister Greg Hunt says it would be reckless to begin tackling the coronavirus epidemic until the final costs are known.
Speaking to health professionals today, Mr Hunt said aiming to contain the virus now, before it had spread, was foolhardy. “I’m not in the business of signing blank cheques. Let’s wait until the virus has run its course, and then we can talk about how much we want to spend,” Mr Hunt said.
“Who knows how much this could cost? It could run into the millions, even billions of dollars, we just don’t know. It’s much more prudent to wait for the virus to take hold, rather than spending money trying to address it now”.
He said that when it came to global emergencies, it was always better to adopt a ‘wait and see’ approach. “Once the virus has fully spread across the entire population and crippled the economy, then we’ll be in a position to properly assess what money we should have spent”.
Prime Minister Scott Morrison backed his minister, saying the science was still out on coronavirus.