The COVID-19 crisis has reignited a long-running debate about the need for an Australian Centre for Disease Control and Prevention (AusCDC). The proposal for an AusCDC has been debated for at least the past 33 years.
In 2012, a parliamentary committee on trans-border health threats received submission after submission supporting the creation of an AusCDC, prompting the committee to recommend commissioning an independent review into the feasibility of its creation.
However, after a limited consultation and six-year delay, the federal government responded by saying a centralised agency to coordinate health emergency responses was not needed. This finding goes against the consensus of the Australian public health community. It goes against the advice of the Australian Medical Association. Worse still, it goes against basic common sense. As is usually the case, politics gets in the way.