The NSW Government has today announced a special commission of inquiry into events surrounding the Ruby Princess cruise ship, whereby thousands of passengers disembarked the vessel in Sydney on 19 March despite the known presence of Covid-19 onboard.
The ship is single largest source of coronavirus cases in Australia, and its handling is the subject of a potential class action under investigation by Shine Lawyers (ASX: SHJ).
Within a couple of weeks of NSW Police Commissioner Mike Fuller announcing a criminal investigation would be launched into the matter, Premier Gladys Berejiklian (pictured) has today galvanised the push for answers.
The Premier will appoint leading barrister Bret Walker SC as Commissioner for the inquiry, which will report back to the government in three to four months.
"It is important that answers are provided quickly for the people of NSW," Berejiklian said."As I have said before, we will leave no stone unturned until we find out exactly what happened."
Walker will have the extraordinary powers of a special commissioner to examine all matters involving the cruise ship, including its departure and arrival, and the actions of all agencies and parties involved.
"Discussions with the Police Commissioner and the State Coroner have made clear to me their expected investigation timelines, and I have decided that the quickest path to answers is through a powerful and independent inquiry," Berejiklian said.
Police and the State Coroner will continue their respective investigations.
Updated at 9:19am AEST on 15 April 2020.
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