Pandemic preparedness lacking: Bill Gates

Tech multi-billionaire Bill Gates says that when future pandemics hit, stronger political cooperation is needed, even among foes.

He told an audience at the Lowy Institute think tank in Sydney on Monday that he wouldn't say that any country got their COVID-19 response totally right.

Mr Gates praised Australia's policies in helping keep infection rates low before vaccines were rolled out.

"Some of the things that stand out are that Australia and about seven other countries did population scale diagnostics early on and had quarantine policies ... that meant you kept the level of infection low in that first year when there were no vaccines," Mr Gates said.

The Microsoft founder turned philanthropist said a stable international order based on mutual political will is needed in order to deal with future pandemics.

"The one thing that still hangs in the balance is will we have the global capacity and at the regional and country levels that would mean that when an (infectious disease) threat comes up we act in such a way that it doesn't go global," Mr Gates said.

"We need to be doing every five years a comprehensive exercise at both country and regional levels of pandemic preparedness and you need a global group that's scoring everybody."

He criticised the United States under Donald Trump's leadership threatening to withdraw from the World Health Organisation and withholding funding.

Mr Gates advocated for a bolstering of resources to the international health body.

He also said US policy, and by extension Australia's, towards China needed a more conciliatory and cooperative political approach in tackling major problems such as climate change.

"I see China's rise as a huge win for the world ... the current mentality of the US to China, and which is reciprocated, is kind of a lose-lose mentality".

"That could be very self-fulfilling in a very negative way".

Mr Gates on Saturday met with Prime Minister Anthony Albanese at Kirribilli House in Sydney to discuss climate change, health and energy challenges.