A long-running inquiry has called for a royal commission into the government's handling of the COVID-19 pandemic.
In a final report handed down on Thursday, the Senate's COVID-19 committee also suggested the federal government establish a centre for disease control and ditch its failed COVIDSafe app.
The report aired frustrations over stymied attempts to access key information on government decision-making during COVID-19, suggesting a royal commission with wide-ranging powers be established.
Labor senator and committee chair Katy Gallagher said hundreds of billions in spending had been littered by "failures", and necessitated a probe with deeper powers.
Senator Gallagher said the Senate committee, which heard from 679 witnesses over 56 public hearings, would act as "an important building block" for a royal commission.
"We think there have been a number of failures which have weakened our response to their pandemic," she said.
"We think the government's response has been characterised by a failure to be prepared a failure to take responsibility, and then a failure to get it right."
The committee complained of being hampered by a lack of access to documents, including from the Australian Health Protection Principle Committee and National COVID-19 Commission Advisory Board - which it blasted as an "expensive failure".
The committee has called for both to be required to provide details of past and future meetings.
"Some of those decisions - who was advising, what they were advising, whether the government took that advice at critical parts of the pandemic - are all unclear, because we haven't been given access to that information," Senator Gallagher said.
"If the government's going to ignore the powers the Senate has ... then really the only answer is full transparency through a royal commission."
The report also suggested Australia establish a centre for disease control, tasked with assuring the country's preparedness for future pandemics.
Senator Gallagher said a CDC would not have to be "overly bureaucratic", but would smooth over systemic problems laid bare during the pandemic.
"There's no doubt ... some health experts felt locked out of being able to provide advice to government because of the way the decisions were taken," she said.
"I think a new model, a new way of doing things could help deal with some of those issues."
Australian Medical Association vice president Dr Chris Moy said the body should advise on border management and vaccine coordination, neutering political divisions which hampered Australia's response.
The AMA has been calling for a national CDC since 2017, and Dr Moy said it became "bleedingly obvious" a central source was needed as the pandemic developed.
"Politicians said they listened to the science, but they didn't show us the science when they made the decisions," he said.
"[With a CDC] politicians would still make decisions, but they would have to justify it against that independent, transparent scientific advice."
The report also called on the federal government to abandon the COVIDSafe App, which The Canberra Times in August revealed was found to have little-to-no-value.
"By not recognising the app's faults, or seeking to fix the app, the government has continued to oversee an application which is not fit for its intended purpose, has cost millions of dollars, and offered limited public value," it read.
The 19 recommendations also included an uptick in vaccines provided to Australia's Pacific neighbours, and a review of the impact of COVID-19 on Australian children's learning.
The report noted aged care services minister Richard Colbeck, who skipped an appearance to attend a cricket match, appeared for just three of the 200 hours heard by the committee despite the ongoing crisis in the sector.
More than 800 people have died in aged care since COVID-19 arrived on Australian shores.
"The committee raised serious concerns about the government's aged care response, particularly that COVID-19 deaths of residents were disproportionately high," the report read.
"This made Australia's COVID-19 death rate in residential aged care facilities among the worst in the world."
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