The Victorian Liberal Nationals are calling for an investigation into the recent licence renewal of a private security hired by the Andrews Labor Government to work in their catastrophic hotel quarantine program.
Earlier this year, the New South Wales Government stripped Unified Security of its licence to operate in the state due to financial and probity issues.
In a letter to the Victorian Auditor-General, Shadow Minster for Police and Crime Prevention David Southwick has outlined several probity issues surrounding Labor’s engagement of Unified Security in hotel quarantine and the recent granting of a licence extension.
Despite not being on a Victorian Government panel of approved security providers, Unified Security was one of three firms that received a contract without tender to work in Victoria’s hotel quarantine program and found to be responsible for seeding Victoria’s second wave.
Prior to their engagement by the Andrews Labor Government in hotel quarantine, a company closely linked to Unified Security, operating under an almost identical name, and from the same Sydney address, was involved in protracted liquidation proceedings owing $4.5 million to unsecured creditors.
As a result of this and other probity issues, Unified Security was stripped of their NSW licence – in direct contrast to Victoria, where Unified Security’s licence was renewed for three years in February 2021.
Furthermore, this licence renewal comes months after the completion of a Victorian State Government review into reports of widespread company phoenixing, sham contracting, and poor training and employee education and language standards in Victoria’s private security industry.
The Victorian Opposition remains deeply concerned about the engagement of Unified Security by the Andrews Labor Government and looks forward to these matters being fully considered by the Auditor-General.
Comments attributable to Shadow Minister for Police & Crime Prevention, David Southwick:
“Serious questions remain as to why an unapproved company facing charges in New South Wales was engaged work in hotel quarantine and has received a licence renewal.
“How can it be that a company has its licence stripped in New South Wales, yet gets an licence extension waved through in Victoria?
“Daniel Andrews must immediately suspend the licence of Unified Security pending a full independent investigation into these matters.”