NSW reported eight fatalities and four people died in Victoria on Friday.
There were 20,396 COVID-19 cases in NSW – a notable drop of almost 2,000 from Thursday when the state reported 22,255 new infections.
The state recorded 1,435 hospitalisations, with 44 people in intensive care.
Victoria recorded 11,192 new coronavirus infections. Some 335 people with the virus are hospitalized in Victoria, including 12 in intensive care.
The figures come as Australia is being urged to set up its own Center for Disease Control after recommendations from a Senate inquiry examining the country’s COVID-19 response.
Among the 19 recommendations in the report, there were calls for a royal commission into how Australia handled the pandemic, as well as greater transparency for health bodies such as the Australian Health Protection Principal Committee.
The government would also be required to report to Parliament every two years on how prepared it was to handle future pandemics.
The Senate inquiry’s chair, Labor’s Katy Gallagher, said the recommendations were crucial in the lead up to the coming winter, with health officials warning of a spike in cases.
“It is imperative that the next Australian government learns the lessons from the failures over the past two years so that when the next pandemic or health crisis comes, Australia is better prepared,” she said.
“The report importantly highlights the fact that the winter months ahead will be a major test for our nation’s living with COVID strategy.”
The inquiry, which was set up in the early stages of the pandemic, handed down its final report on Thursday after more than two years and dozens of hearings.