Prime Minister Anthony Albanese and Health Minister Mark Butler announced the inquiry and its scope at a press conference in Adelaide this morning.
The inquiry will not have the same powers as a royal commission but will be able to call witnesses and examine the response of governments during the pandemic
The scope of the inquiry will cover COVID-19 responses since the pandemic began in January 2020, including governance and key health response measures, as well as advice for dealing with future pandemics.
However, decisions made solely by state and territory governments during the pandemic response, such as lockdowns and border closers, will be omitted from the scope.
The prime minister said the inquiry would particularly focus on key health measures, including COVID-19 vaccinations and treatments, key medical supplies such as personal protective equipment and public health messaging, broader health supports for those impacted by COVID-19 and lockdowns, including mental health and suicide-prevention supports and access to screening and other preventative health measures, financial support for individuals, the support for industry and business, assistance for Australians abroad, including assisted returns to Australia and governance and national governance mechanisms, including national cabinet.
The inquiry will consider the findings of previous relevant state and territory COVID-19 inquiries and reviews.
It has been given 12 months to complete a report for the government.
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