The coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic is something that our state and our nation has not faced in our lifetimes and it presents an unprecedented challenge to the operation of Government.

It has already disrupted our lives in ways we could not have imagined, even four weeks ago.

As a Government, it is our job to respond to this health emergency now to keep Victorians safe, and then ensure our state is best placed to recover and rebuild when we get to the other side of this crisis.

Just as I said that Victorians needed to prepare to combat this virus, the Government has been preparing too.

That is why I have today, 3rd April, established a Crisis Council of Cabinet (CCC) the core decision making forum for the Victorian Government on all matters related to the coronavirus emergency, including implementing the outcomes of the National Cabinet.

It will operate initially until 30 September 2020 and will then be reviewed.

I will chair the CCC and it will include:

  • James Merlino: Minister for the Coordination of Education and Training – COVID-19
  • Tim Pallas: Minister for the Coordination of Treasury and Finance – COVID-19
  • Jacinta Allan: Minister for the Coordination of Transport – COVID-19
  • Jenny Mikakos: Minister for the Coordination of Health and Human Services – COVID-19
  • Jill Hennessy: Minister for the Coordination of Justice and Community Safety – COVID-19
  • Martin Pakula: Minister for the Coordination of Jobs, Precincts and Regions – COVID 19
  • Lisa Neville: Minister for the Coordination of Environment, Land, Water and Planning – COVID-19

These seven Ministers have been sworn-in with new portfolios with responsibility for leading all COVID-19 response activities in their respective departments, while keeping their current portfolio responsibilities.

Other Ministers will continue to administer their current portfolios and the full Cabinet will continue to meet each week to manage the general business of government.

The most senior levels of the Victorian Public Service will also be structured to align with these new coordinating responsibilities, with a focus on eight core missions that will help us respond appropriately and effectively to the coronavirus emergency.

Departmental Secretaries will appoint Associate Secretaries to run the day-to-day administration of their departments, allowing the Secretaries to lead teams focused on the pandemic response.

These arrangements are temporary, but they’re absolutely necessary so we can save Victorian lives and support Victorian workers and businesses to the other side of this crisis.

The coronavirus emergency is testing Victorians unlike anything we have experienced before.

And as we ask Victorians to take unprecedented measures, it also demands from government a new way of operating.

In short: we need the Government and the public service to be as fast and agile as possible. And that’s exactly what these new arrangements provide.