Independent experts appointed to review Western Australia's COVID-19 management and response
- Three highly qualified and experienced independent experts appointed
- Reviewers will consider Government's future preparedness and consider the economic, social, and health outcomes of WA's COVID-19 management and response
- Review will provide recommendations to ensure the State is prepared to manage future pandemics
The McGowan Government has appointed three highly qualified independent experts to review the State's COVID-19 pandemic management and response, including a former Western Australian Health Minister.
WA's management of the COVID-19 pandemic delivered some of the best public health and economic outcomes in the world, including world-leading vaccination rates.
Hon John Day, Emeritus Professor Margaret Seares AO, and Dr Michael Schaper will conduct a comprehensive independent review to inform future pandemic management and ensure Government arrangements are fit-for-purpose.
Mr Day was the Member for Darling Range and Kalamunda from 1993 to 2017, serving as a Minister for 12 years in total, including in the Police and Emergency Services portfolios from 1997 to 1998 and as Health Minister from 1998 to 2001 and 2016 to 2017. He is currently the Chairman of the Board of the State Library of WA, a board member of the Art Gallery of WA, and an Honorary Fellow of the Planning Institute of Australia.
Professor Seares was previously the Chief Executive Officer of the WA Department of Arts and Chair of the Australia Council. She is currently an independent reviewer for the State Government's Agency Capability Review Program. She is Chair of the Salaries and Allowances Tribunal and a former Member of the Australian Research Council's Advisory Committee.
Dr Michael Schaper is the previous Deputy Chair of the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission and has recently completed an agency capability review for the State Government's Agency Capability Review Program. He is currently a National Board Member of the Australian Institute of Company Directors, a Board Member of the Gaming & Wagering Commission of WA, and Chair of the Board of Energy and Water Ombudsman WA.
The independent experts will specifically review:
- the State's pandemic plans and preparedness;
- Government programs and processes to support the health response, including testing, free Rapid Antigen Tests, and the vaccination rollout;
- intragovernmental communication and cooperation;
- community support, engagement, and public health communication; and
- effectiveness of public health levers, including border control measures, on health outcomes
In addition to considering the Government's future preparedness, the reviewers will also consider the economic, social, and health outcomes of WA's COVID-19 management and response.
The terms of reference for the review will be available online.
A final report is expected in the middle of 2023.
Comments attributed to Premier Mark McGowan:
"Western Australians were fantastic throughout the pandemic and overwhelmingly followed the health advice to give us the best health and economic outcomes in the world.
"I'm incredibly proud of how Western Australians, my Government, the public sector, industry, and community organisations worked together at a time of crisis to protect and support each other.
"With the State of Emergency now over, it's critical that we take the opportunity to reflect on the lessons of the pandemic and provide learnings for future generations.
"I have asked the independent and highly qualified reviewers to assess the best evidence and evaluate what worked, consider our preparedness for the future, and look at the economic, social and health outcomes of our response and management.
"This was a once-in-a-hundred-year pandemic. My hope is that future Governments will be able to rely on this review, our experience, and these lessons to protect our State, and other jurisdictions from the next pandemic."
Comments attributed to Health Minister Amber-Jade Sanderson:
"It's important we get the settings right to ensure our State is prepared for future pandemics.
"Western Australians responded incredibly well to the COVID-19 pandemic, but we need to reflect on the management and response, and plan for any future risks.
"The independent reviewers are leaders in their field and bring a wealth of senior public sector experience to the review, including Ministerial experience.
"Consultation with public sector agencies and other stakeholders, including peak industry and community organisations, will be a critical part of the review process."
Premier's office - 6552 5000
Health Minister's office - 6552 5900