Australia’s supply chains proved generally resilient in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, but the experience with COVID-19, following the devastating 2019-20 bushfires has highlighted Australia’s potential vulnerability to supply chain disruptions. Panic buying of some goods, notably personal protective equipment, and the imposition of export restrictions on these products by some countries added a degree of urgency to the unfolding situation.
In this febrile environment, understanding the nature of possible disruptions received relatively little attention, but it did prompt a host of views on Australia’s degree of self-sufficiency and strident opinions on how best to manage the risks involved.
The purpose of this study is to help further Australia’s preparedness to deal with possible global supply chain disruptions. The report considers the factors that make supply chains vulnerable, with a focus on the international linkages and dependencies from trade.
In response to the terms of reference, the Commission has prepared this interim report which focuses on how disruptions to imports might affect Australians’ access to essential goods and services. The report develops a framework to identify risks that might affect supply chains, and ultimately Australians’ wellbeing.