Peter Harris departs COVID-19 Commission

By Shannon Jenkins

Friday October 9, 2020

Peter Harris (Image: PM&C)

Former Productivity Commission chair Peter Harris has stepped down from his position as chief executive officer of the National COVID-19 Coordination Commission Advisory Board.

Announcing his departure on Wednesday, the commission said Harris had played a leading role in the NCC’s representation of a business perspective to government.

“Mr Harris was a key influencer in creating the commission’s collaborative working relationships with government departments at all levels, and his contributions to the work of the commission will have long-lasting effects,” it said.

The former senior public servant had been appointed to the commission to advise the national cabinet on all non-health aspects of the pandemic response, including job and investment recovery.

Read more: What Peter Harris did next: former PC chair takes a seat with another advisory body

Harris is currently a board member at Infrastructure Australia, and has previously held secretary roles with the Victorian Department of Sustainability and Environment, and the federal Broadband and Communications department.

Harris provided a wealth of public sector experience to the commission, according to NCC chair Neville Power.

“Having led the development of the Productivity Commission’s 2017 ‘Shifting the Dial’ report, which recommended ways to improve Australia’s economic performance, Peter was an excellent choice to lead the commission’s work,” he said.

“Peter’s role with the commission has been invaluable in our taking on the challenge of Australia’s long-term economic recovery from the effects of COVID-19. I and the other members of the board thank Peter for his leadership at the commission.”

Deputy CEO Malcolm Thompson will continue as the head of taskforce, the commission said.

Former Dow Chemical head Andrew Liveris, EnergyAustralia managing director Catherine Tanna, and ex union boss Greg Combet have also departed the commission, which reformed as an advisory body and appointed six new members in late July.

Read more: COVID-19 Coordination Commission’s manufacturing taskforce wants to grow Australia’s gas industry to build post-pandemic economy


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