Australia announces coronavirus 'co-ordination commission'

A new commissioner will advise Australian governments on what should be done to tackle the social and economic effects of coronavirus.

Sweeping closures of businesses and a clampdown on travel have led to tens of thousands of jobs losses, with at least 800,000 more expected.

"That commission's job put simply is to solve problems," Prime Minister Scott Morrison told reporters in Canberra this afternoon.

The commission will help private sector companies and organisations work more closely, and tie into the efforts of the public sector.

"It's about better coordinating the efforts that are happening within the public sector ," he said.

Neville Power, who runs Perth Airport and used to head up Fortescue Metals, will head up the commission which will also help governments navigate the mental health impacts on sacked workers and people confined to their homes.

"I think that Australia right now more than anything needs to focus on minimising and mitigating the impact of the coronavirus on our businesses, on our communities, on our people," Mr Power told reporters.

"So my role is going to be looking for those problems and looking for opportunities where we can join businesses together."

The commission will look where there is a workforce that is no longer gainfully employed and where workers are needed, and where equipment can be redeployed.

It will also intervene to protect critical supply chains and utilities.

"We know that this virus will come and go," Mr Power said.

"We want to be well-positioned to make sure that we restore people's jobs and livelihoods as quickly as we can afterwards."