A parliamentary inquiry has found shortcomings in the Morrison government's early response to the coronavirus pandemic.
The first interim report of the select committee on COVID-19 was tabled on Wednesday night.
It found while Australia had avoided the worst of the pandemic, more could have been done to prevent its spread.
Nearly 28,000 people have contracted the disease in Australia, while more than 900 have died.
The committee found the government failed to heed warnings before the pandemic about the National Medical Stockpile of personal protective equipment.
Its pandemic planning assumed there would be an influenza-type virus which left the nation unprepared when that wasn't the case.
Its COVID-19 response plan adopted in February failed to account for the closure of international borders, or consider the aged care and disability sectors.
As a result, more than 36,000 Australians remain stranded overseas.
Worse, 685 aged care residents died of COVID-19 - around three-quarters of coronavirus deaths in Australia.
Committee chair Katy Gallagher said aged care was the most serious shortcoming.
The Victorian aged care response centre was not set up until July 25 - after 295 cases and 26 deaths had been recorded in Victorian aged care facilities.
"The federal government didn't have a plan to protect aged care residents, they ignored the royal commission's warnings in October 2019, they were too slow to act and when disaster struck they tried to avoid accepting responsibility," Senator Gallagher said.
The Ruby Princess - where more than 660 passengers contracted COVID-19, leading to the largest outbreak in Australia in March - was a Commonwealth-level quarantine failure, the committee also found.
"The Australian Government did not follow its legislated responsibilities on human biosecurity, with officials from the Department of Agriculture, Water and the Environment failing to administer Traveller with Illness Checklists and follow other key protocols designed to identify and manage active cases of COVID-19," their report said.
The government also waited too long to bring in a paid pandemic leave scheme, the committee found.
The Australian Council of Trade Unions told the Morrison government in March such a scheme was needed to stop sick people going to work and spreading the disease, especially in sectors like health and aged care. The scheme was only introduced in August.
"It's unclear why the government didn't address the transmission risk until August when [we] had 18,000 cases," Senator Gallagher said.
The $5.2 COVIDSafe app had "significantly underdelivered" and suffered from significant performance issues. The app had only identified 17 unique contacts, Senator Gallagher said.
Senator Gallagher summed up their assessment of the Commonwealth's response as "thank goodness for the states".
"It was the states who took the big brave decisions at the right time and forced the hand of the federal government who was resisting calls to take stronger action," Senator Gallagher said.
The committee was set up in April to examine the government's response to the pandemic at a time when parliament was not sitting due to the fear of transmission.
It has held 37 hearings and heard hundreds of hours of evidence from ministers, government officials and experts.
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