Reports today revealing the extraordinary costs and over-hiring of staff within Daniel Andrews Quarantine Hotel program rubs salt in the wounds of what is already Victoria's worst ever public policy failure.
In figures provided to the Victorian Parliament’s Public Accounts and Estimates Committee, Corrections Commissioner, Dr Emma Cassar confirms that 1,498 corrections, former airline and other staff have been employed to work in the hotel quarantine program at cost of $7.12 million per month.
The hiring of almost 1,500 staff comes despite there being only 107 guests currently in quarantine hotels – meaning 14 staff have been hired for every guest in the system.
These revelations follow reports that staff hired to work in quarantine hotels have been stood down on full pay – up to $2,000 a week – due to a lack of work within the system and comes as private security guards continued to be engaged at Novotel in Southbank as recently as this week. This is despite Dr Cassar stating that all department contracted private security ceased system-wide by 11 July 2020.
Victorians have seen nothing but failure after failure within Labor’s quarantine hotels and only now, after botching private security and corrections and airline staff, Victoria Police have stepped in to seize control of the program.
No matter how many bites of the cherry he takes, it’s clear Daniel Andrews just can’t get hotel quarantine right and all Victorians are being left to pay the price, another reason why Victorians have lost confidence in his government.
Comments attributable Shadow Minister for Corrections, David Southwick:
“Daniel Andrews' botched hotel quarantine just keeps going from bad to worse.
"Victorian taxpayers are now paying airline and corrections staff $7 million a month to sit at home and do nothing while Labor was caught this week still outsourcing hotel quarantine to private security guards.
“With unemployment spiking and businesses forcibly closed, Labor's botched management of hotel quarantine rubbing salt into the wounds of every Victorian business and taxpayer doing it tough.
“This failed attempt to reset Labor's hotel quarantine security program has been nothing but a massive waste of taxpayer money.
"This is another failed experiment with people’s lives when Daniel Andrews should have used police and the ADF in the first place.”