COVID-19 coronavirus: Impact statement

Research and analysis
A summary of known and emerging impacts of COVID-19, focusing on 5 recovery areas - health, economic and infrastructure, social, industry and regions.

Last updated: 26 July 2020 at 9.30am

The COVID-19 pandemic has had far reaching impacts on our State and recovery will be complex. 

A snapshot of the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on WA 

Compared to other parts of the world, there has been a low number of COVID-19 cases in WA. Our response, and the community’s adherence to the guidelines and restrictions have protected us all.  

Without a vaccine, however, the WA community will still be living with COVID-19 for the foreseeable future. The 5 impact areas are outlined below.   


The health system suspended many clinical activities, reallocated funds to purchase medical supplies and equipment, and increased the health workforce. The health system has built the capacity to respond to surges. 

  • 570 cases of COVID-19 including 9 deaths 
  • waitlist for elective surgery has grown 
  • Increased burden of undiagnosed/untreated disease 
  • calls to mental health helplines significantly higher than normal.   

Economic and infrastructure 

The WA economy has been severely impacted by the pandemic. WA has seen reduced income and increased unemployment. There have been significant impacts on business and consumer confidence – which both fell to their weakest levels on record.  

  • largest monthly decline in employment on record (62,300 people) in April 
  • hours worked fell 10.3% and underemployment rate increased to 14.6% 
  • business confidence and consumer sentiment dropped to their weakest levels on record, but have since partially recovered. 


The wellbeing impact is still emerging, with increases in family and domestic violence, homelessness and youth unemployment. Ongoing unemployment will exacerbate these concerns alongside mental health impacts and alcohol and drug use. Impacts are most severe for vulnerable and disadvantaged groups.   

Absence of arts, culture and sports has taken away critical avenues for people to connect with each other, culture and community.    


A number of key industry sectors has been shut down by the necessary public health response and there has been significant supply chain disruption. Industries most impacted include: 

  • construction 
  • international education 
  • tourism 
  • culture and the arts 
  • sport and recreation 
  • retail 
  • accommodation 
  • food services   

Spending on retail, hospitality and personal services, travel and tourism has slowed, leading to a number of closures.    

Resources and agricultural sectors remain largely unaffected but there is a challenging global outlook.   


Regional impact is varied, with issues such as digital connectivity, infrastructure and the sensitivity of local industries to regional travel bans.  

  • currently 87,160 (32%) regional jobs lost or put in hibernation 
  • tourism related impacts across regional WA expected to result in up to 25,000 fewer jobs 
  • regional responses have supported remote Aboriginal communities  

The document outlines the known and emerging impacts of the pandemic across the recovery areas.  

It will be further developed in collaboration with stakeholders and is designed to inform recovery activities. 


Page reviewed 26 July 2020