Dodgy fallout from economic wrath of virus

People with cold-like symptoms should get tested, Deputy Chief Medical Officer Paul Kelly says.
People with cold-like symptoms should get tested, Deputy Chief Medical Officer Paul Kelly says.

The coronavirus economic storm has stoked fears of rising superannuation fraud, reliance on payday loans, and dodgy business practices.

A tool to help people consolidate super accounts has been suspended after fraud was detected through the government's early access to retirement savings scheme.

Australian Federal Police Commissioner Reece Kershaw says there has been an increase in superannuation fraud, along with potential crime associated with welfare and wage subsidies.

But he has told a parliamentary inquiry authorities have moved quickly to stamp out the practices.

The Australian Securities and Investments Commission expects more phoenix activity, with companies folding to wriggle out of debts.

Financial regulators are also concerned about a rise in payday lending and overdue bank loans when deferrals and government support ends.

The value of business and household loan deferral has hit $250 billion, prompting the Australian Prudential Regulation Authority to warn of a looming cliff in September.

"No one has an interest in going off the cliff, so we have to work out what the next phase is going to be and that will depend on what the economic situation is at the time," APRA chairman Wayne Byres said on Wednesday.

Reserve Bank governor Philip Lowe warned cutting off JobKeeper wage subsidies early could be a mistake, saying the scheme may need to go beyond September.

"It's very important that we do not withdraw the fiscal stimulus too early,'' he told the committee.

There have been 103 coronavirus deaths in Australia, with the latest victim also the youngest.

Nathan Turner, 30, died in a small Queensland mining town while also battling a serious underlying health condition.

The case sparked national concern after Mr Turner tested positive for the disease during a post-mortem examination despite having not left Blackwater since February.

Health Minister Greg Hunt backed Queensland health authorities to track down the source of his infection.

"One of the things we all have to be prepared for is there will be cases in unexpected places," Mr Hunt said.

"This one is a case which is especially tragic because it's not just a death, it's the death of a young man with a whole life ahead of him."

A link between the case and an infectious Rockhampton nurse who drove to the town to watch the sun set is being investigated.

Mr Hunt also reiterated calls for people not to put other illnesses on the back-burner.

"Do not neglect your ordinary health, but to continue to protect against COVID-19," he said.

South Australia wants to stop granting compassionate international travel exemptions after the state's health authorities bungled the arrival of a coronavirus-infected British woman.

Meanwhile, test results for the remainder of a live export ship's crew are yet to return following positives among six of the 48 people on board the vessel, which is docked in WA.

The national cabinet will on Friday consider medical reports about how the first stage of lifting restrictions has affected health outcomes.

Australian Associated Press