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Television Interview - Flashpoint WA

Improving future preparedness: Inquiry into the response to the Covid-19 pandemic

An independent Inquiry will be held into Australia’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic to help better prepare and protect our country for the future.

Given the loss of life, dislocation, stress and expenditure resulting from the pandemic, we said it would be in the national interest to hold an Inquiry into the response.

It will review what worked well and what we can do better to improve Australia’s preparedness for future pandemics.

The Inquiry will consider Commonwealth responses to the pandemic. This includes the provision of vaccinations, treatments and key medical supplies to Australians, mental health support for those impacted by COVID-19 and lockdowns, financial support for individuals and business, and assistance for Australians abroad.

The Inquiry will consider the role of the Australian Government in responding to future pandemics, including the coordination of National Cabinet.

The Government has appointed an independent panel to conduct the Inquiry. The panellists have vast experience in public health, government and economic policy.

  • Ms Robyn Kruk AO, who has a wealth of experience in government and in leading independent reviews. Ms Kruk previously held roles as Director-General of the NSW Department of Health, Secretary of the Commonwealth Department of the Environment, Water, Heritage and the Arts, and CEO of the National Mental Health Commission.
  • Professor Catherine Bennett, Deakin University’s current Chair in Epidemiology and the University of Melbourne’s former Associate Professor in Epidemiology and Director of Population Health Practice. Professor Bennett has also held senior positions in the New South Wales and Victorian state governments.
  • Dr Angela Jackson, a health economist with extensive experience in economics and government, including through her current role as lead economist for Impact Economics and Policy. Dr Jackson is a member of the Economic Inclusion Advisory Committee and is the National Chair of the Women in Economics Network. Dr Jackson was also previously a Board Member and Chair of the Finance Committee at the Royal Melbourne Hospital from 2015-2021.

A Taskforce within the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet will support the Independent Panel.

The Inquiry will run for 12 months, with a final report to be delivered by 30 September 2024.

Key stakeholders and members of the community will be invited to share their views as part of a public consultation.

The Terms of Reference for the Commonwealth Government COVID-19 Response Inquiry.

Quotes attributable to Prime Minister Anthony Albanese:

“The COVID-19 pandemic has been the most significant global crisis that we have faced in decades.

“Its impacts are still being felt throughout Australia.

“This Inquiry will look at the Government’s responses and will give advice on what worked, what didn’t, and what we can do in the future to best protect Australians from the worst of any future events.”

Quotes attributable to Health Minister Mark Butler:

“This Inquiry will look at what went well in our response to COVID-19, and what we need to do better in the future.

“The Inquiry will help ensure we are better prepared for future pandemics.

“The panellists have the collective expertise to take a thorough look into all aspects of Australia’s response – and I encourage members of the public, when they have the opportunity, to have their say about what worked and what, with hindsight, we might have done differently.”

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