“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.” Prime Minister Anthony Albanese stated.
The 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. 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. Additionally, the Inquiry will consider the role of the Australian Government in responding to future pandemics, including the coordination of National Cabinet.
The Government appointed panellists have vast experience in public health, government and economic policy:
- Alfred Deakin 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.
- 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.
- 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.
The Inquiry will run for 12 months, with a final report to be delivered by 30 September 2024. A Taskforce within the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet will support the Independent Panel. Key stakeholders and members of the community will be invited to share their views as part of a public consultation.
“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.” commented Health Minister Mark Butler.
As the face of Deakin University’s COVID-19 response, Catherine is widely sought for her clear presentation and ability to strip away misinformation about the virus. Prof. Bennett is also drawn to the challenge of responding to one of the greatest public health crises of the past century.
Hear from Alfred Deakin Professor Catherine Bennett on our Healing Health Podcast