PM’s new weapon against virus chaos
Scott Morrison has announced the formation of a new commission designed to swiftly co-ordinate efforts between the private and public sectors to ease coronavirus chaos.
The Prime Minister said the COVID-19 Co-ordination Commission will be headed by Nev Power, former chief executive officer of Fortescue Metals.
"Working in the mining sector, you need to know how to solve problems, and big ones," Mr Morrison said at a press in Canberra this morning.
"I rang him the other day and I said: 'Nev, I need you to serve your country.'"
Mr Power said the commission's role would be to identify problems that arise as a result of coronavirus and work urgently to address them.
"I've stepped up to this role when asked because I think that Australia right now more than anything needs to focus on minimising and mitigating the impact of the coronavirus on our businesses, on our communities, on our people," Mr Power told reporters.
"And that's for the preservation of jobs as much as we possibly can, given the constraints that we have around the restrictions from the coronavirus."
He gave the example of using skilled workers who are now out of jobs to move into areas of need. The commission would link those workers with businesses and government services that needed them, he said.
It comes on the third day of long queues outside Centrelink offices across the country as tens of thousands of Australians find themselves out of work.
Estimates are that one million Aussies could lose their jobs as a result of the coronavirus crisis.
"Where there's equipment that can be redeployed, where we need to intervene to protect our critical supply chains and our utilities, and also, very importantly, looking to the future because we know that this virus will come and go," Mr Power said.
"And we want to be well positioned to make sure that we restore people's jobs and livelihoods as quickly as we possibly can afterwards.
"So, our priority is to identify those areas, ask people for their help and look for co-ordination across all of those areas to minimise the impact of this virus."
The commission will be rounded out by other members of the business, community service and trade union communities, including Greg Combet, Catherine Tanner, Paul Little and David Thodey.
Mr Morrison said recruitment would continue, particularly of figures from the not-for-profit and charity sectors.
Originally published as PM's new weapon against virus chaos