Combet exits COVID-19 commission

By Shannon Jenkins

Thursday July 2, 2020

Greg Combet (centre). (AAP Image/Paul Miller)

Former Labor minister Greg Combet has resigned from the National COVID-19 Coordination Commission.

His departure from the NCCC early last week came despite the government wanting him to stay, commission sources told The Age.

As a commissioner, Combet was charged with focusing on a number of sectors including employment, labour force and industrial relations, manufacturing, defence industry, and superannuation. He will remain as an “expert adviser” on the government’s industrial relations working groups.

Combet previously headed the Australian Council of Trade Unions, and served as minister for industry and innovation, climate change and energy efficiency, and defence personnel, science and materiel.

He currently chairs IFM Investors and Industry Super Australia, and has recently been hitting back at a number of backbench Coalition MPs who have been pushing for the government to delay a rise to the superannuation rate.

He argued that not increasing the super guarantee would harm the people who had to make withdrawals from their savings to stay afloat during the coronavirus pandemic.

Combet told The Age he had left the commission due to the worst phase of the coronavirus pandemic being over.

“It has been a privilege to serve on the National COVID-19 Coordination Commission during the crisis management phase of the pandemic,” he said.

Read more: Former WA under treasurer to lead government’s industrial relations working groups

Update: The commission has officially announced Combet’s departure, and he has now been listed as a “former member” on the NCCC website. Combet also confirmed that he would continue to engage with the IR working groups.

“I am pleased to have been able to give my attention and support to the early response to the pandemic, but with other capable hands taking forward the Commission’s evolving program of work, it’s time for me to focus on my business responsibilities, including as Chair of IFM Investors,” he said.

“I will however continue to lend my support to the COVID-19 response as part of the industrial relations working groups being led by the Attorney General and Minister for Industrial Relations, Christian Porter.”

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