Scott Morrison has ruled out introducing a coronavirus levy to help repair the national budget after the pandemic.
The prime minister has also talked down the prospect of new or increased taxes to get the economy humming again.
“Increasing taxes doesn’t always grow the economy,” he told 3AW radio on Friday.
Mr Morrison said the Australian economy was taking its biggest hit since the Great Depression of the 1930s.
He described the global financial crisis as an entree compared to COVID-19.
“This thing is going to hit us like a truck,” the prime minister said.
“We need to ensure that on the other side of that, and through it, we are doing everything we can to ensure the recovery is as strong as possible.”
Mr Morrison has spoken of needing to turn economic policy settings on their head to recover from the pandemic.
Treasury and the Reserve Bank have warned the policy mix will need a major overhaul if the Australian economy is going to grow once the crisis subsides.
Opposition Leader Anthony Albanese said the economy was already struggling before the coronavirus and bushfires over summer.
He is open to revisiting legislated income tax cuts that have not yet taken effect, but is concerned the coalition could pursue industrial relations reforms to dig Australia out of debt.
“What we don’t want when we get through this crisis is for the government to just return to its old ideological position of attacking the rights of working people,” Mr Albanese told reporters in Sydney.
“If the government’s response post this crisis is to further undermine our unions and to attack wages and conditions of working people, then that will not help the recovery, it will not help growth.”