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Insights from the Pandemic: An independent review of Australia’s COVID-19 response

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Three of Australia’s prominent philanthropic foundations have joined together to establish an independent review of the country’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic and its impact on the community with the goal of improving future health crisis responses.

The Paul Ramsay Foundation, Minderoo Foundation and the John and Myriam Wylie Foundation today announced the review, which will be steered by review chair Professor Peter Shergold AC.

Professor Shergold will be joined by panel members Jillian Broadbent AC, Doherty Institute Director Professor Sharon Lewin AO, former Young Australian of the Year Isobel Marshall, and University of Queensland Chancellor Peter Varghese AO. The review panel will be supported by research and analysis from e61 Institute.

Paul Ramsay Foundation CEO Professor Glyn Davis AC said the review was specifically designed to be independent and philanthropy-led and sets out to ensure the lessons from Australia’s pandemic experience are captured so that they may be used to strengthen policies and actions in response to future crises.

“We need to be more ready and resilient for whatever comes next – it’s critical that we know more about the effects and consequences of the pandemic so that our response is tailored to have the greatest impact in improving the health, security, and happiness of Australians, especially for future generations,” said Professor Davis.

The funders of this review have each committed to an independent approach, with the review process and its conclusions at the discretion of the Panel, and free of editorial or policy direction from the funders.

The Review will deliver its final report with recommendations by September 2022.

Professor Peter Shergold, AC, review Chair, commented on the importance of the review: “While governments will no doubt reflect on the experiences and results from their own policies, this review will provide a valuable independent examination. We aim to deliver incisive and practical recommendations that will assist governments, business, civil society and the broader community to mitigate the impact of future health crises and create a more resilient society.”

Members of the public are invited to provide a submission to the Review addressing one or all of the following questions:

  • What impact did the pandemic have on you and your community?
  • What worked well, and what didn’t work well, in governments’ policy responses to reduce the impact of the pandemic on you and your community?
  • What should be done now to better prepare for the next health crisis?
  • What other issues would you like to raise with the Panel?

Submissions are limited to 1,500 words and can be lodged online at www.e61.in/covid-review. Submissions will be treated as confidential and will only be referenced in the final report with written permission.

The Review Panel

  • Professor Peter Shergold AC: Professor Shergold has worked at the highest levels of Australian public policy, including as Secretary of the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet, and led numerous reviews on major government programs. He is currently Chair of the AMP Foundation, Crescent Institute, and the Centre for Social Impact.
  • Jillian Broadbent AC: With an extensive career in banking in Australia and overseas, Ms Broadbent is a leading company non executive director who has previously sat on the board of organisations including the Reserve Bank, the Clean Energy Finance Corporation, SBS and Qantas. She is currently a director at Macquarie, the Sydney Dance Company and the National Portrait Gallery Board Foundation.
  • Professor Sharon Lewin AO: Leading infectious diseases expert and virologist, Professor Sharon Lewin, is the inaugural Director of the Doherty Institute. She is also Laureate Professor of Medicine at The University of Melbourne and a National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) Practitioner Fellow.
  • Isobel Marshall: Ms Marshall was named Young Australian of the Year in 2021 in recognition of her work as a social entrepreneur, co-founding TABOO to help women around the world by breaking down stigma around menstruation and providing greater access to hygiene products. She is also a full-time student at the University of Adelaide, where she is studying a Bachelor of Medicine (MBBS) and a Bachelor of Surgery.
  • Peter Varghese AO: Peter Varghese is Chancellor of The University of Queensland and has had an extensive career in public service and diplomacy spanned 38 years, including senior positions in foreign affairs, trade policy and intelligence. Most recently, he served as Secretary of the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (2012-2016).

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