An independent review of Australia’s COVID-19 reponse has found ill-conceived policies and excessive lockdowns failed to protect the old, disregarded the young and abandoned some of the nation’s most disadvantaged communities. Source: The Age.
The review, led by former top public servant Peter Shergold, urges federal and state governments to learn from mistakes and overhaul planning, to broaden the advice provided to national cabinet and restore trust in how decisions are made.
The final report of the Shergold panel, which was funded by three private philanthropic trusts and is entitled Fault Lines, identifies four substantive failings in Australia’s response to the COVID crisis: inequitable government support measures that exacerbated existing social disadvantages; the unjustified closure of schools; inadequate protection of aged care residents; and the overuse of “brutal” lockdowns and border closures.
It backs the federal Government’s move to establish an Australian Centre for Disease Control and recommends a series of further reforms across the public sector and within national cabinet to improve transparency in pandemic decision-making and encourage greater collaboration between governments, business, unions and community organisations.
“Frontline workers, women, children, aged care residents, people with disabilities, ethnic communities, international students, expatriates overseas and those already experiencing relative socioeconomic disadvantage bore the brunt of the pandemic,” the review found. “Left unchecked, the recovery threatens to be just as unequal.
“We need to ensure that supports are properly targeted to those in greatest need. We owe it to the thousands of Australians who continue to lose their lives that we learn from the pandemic and identify how government responses can be improved in the future.”
‘Fractured’ pandemic response failed the most vulnerable, independent report finds (By Chip Le Grand, The Age)
Covid response ‘overreach’ hurt nation: independent review (The Australian)