Mr Morrison said the commission would help “solve problems” in the private and public sectors during the coronavirus crisis and get chief executives talking to each other to find solutions, such as “repurposing manufacturing lines”, improving grocery supply lines and redeploying workers who lost their jobs this week.
Already on the board is former Labor MP Greg Combet, Jane Halton, the former head of the Finance Department, Paul Little the head of Toll Holdings, Energy Australia boss Catherine Tanna, Secretary of the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet Phil Gaetjens, and Home Affairs Department Secretary Mike Pezzullo.
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Mr Power said his role is going to be looking for opportunities to join businesses together to solve problems.
“Where there is a workforce that is no longer gainfully employed and where there is a workforce that’s needed. Where there’s equipment that can be re-deployed. 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,” he said.
“We want to be well positioned to make sure that we restore people’s jobs and livelihoods as quickly as we possibly can afterwards.”
The cancellation of non-urgent elective surgery comes after the heads of medical colleges expressed concerns that protective masks were being wasted on cosmetic surgery such as tummy tucks.
The Prime Minister said the national cabinet had made the decision to cancel non-urgent surgeries on the advice of the AHPPC on Tuesday night.
He said while state-run hospitals had already begun cancelling some elective surgeries, “what this means is a further scaling back”.
All category 3 surgeries will be suspended, Mr Morrison said, with only urgent category 1 and 2 procedures to be performed in both public and the private hospitals. Category 1 includes childbirth, urgent cardiac and cancer surgeries.
Mr Morrison defended the government’s text message to Australians on Wednesday morning advised to “stay 1.5m from others, follow rules on social gatherings, wash hands, stay home if sick.”
He said while he preferred for everyone to “stay home” the most important message was for sick people to stop going out.
The government’s communication strategy did not detail the rules on how many people could gather in a private home or elsewhere, but provided a link to a government website that also lacked detail.
He said the “most urgent message” was for people to stay home if unwell.
“It is also important that people should stay home when they’re in self-isolation, and as I said last night, our preference and our instruction is more generally – stay home unless you’re going out for essential [reasons],” Mr Morrison said.
“The most dangerous thing that you can do, and we know of people who are sick and have sought to go to pharmacies. And that is very dangerous.”
Dana is health and industrial relations reporter for The Sydney Morning Herald and The Age.