The Parliamentary Inquiry into Contact Tracing report has shown the many failings of the Andrews Labor Government, exposing its failure to properly respond to outbreaks of COVID-19; a failure which prolonged Victoria’s second wave.
Due to Labor’s incompetence, 801 Victorians tragically lost their lives, hundreds of thousands of Victorians lost jobs and work, and tens of thousands of businesses struggled throughout the harsh lockdown and restrictions, some of which will never recover and never operate again.
Witnesses spoke of the “perceived reluctance from the Andrews Government to appropriately prepare for the COVID-19 pandemic.” Others were scathing in their assessment of the Department of Health and Human Service’s “defensive culture” and lack of transparency.
The Andrews Labor Government has a culture of cover-ups and lack of transparency, and the Committee found the Government’s reluctance to concede or acknowledge errors was a contributing factor in the delays to implementing a suitable contact tracing system.
The Inquiry also found that poor decision making by the Andrews Government and the choice not to pursue an integrated contact tracing system in March resulted in the system becoming overwhelmed. Labor’s inability to respond appropriately also led to widespread community transmission of the virus and prolonged the second wave.
Daniel Andrews’ failure to invest in an integrated digitised system when it was first offered – instead, persisting with pen, paper and post-it notes - contributed to a system that very quickly and easily became overwhelmed.
Technology that would have assisted with contact tracing was rejected by the Andrews Labor Government in March and finally taken up again in late August, but by then the second wave was in full swing and out of control. As a result, Australia’s harshest of lockdowns and restrictions were imposed on Victorians.
The Committee received evidence that demonstrated the enormous support Victoria received from around the country.
Despite Daniel Andrews’ attempts at political spin, it is clear that his government lost control of the virus during the second wave due to his government’s refusal to admit problems and adopt better systems.
Following the intervention and support from other jurisdictions, a proper digitised system that is soon to be fully integrated Victoria’s contact tracing capacity is much more robust - but is yet to be truly tested due to zero cases.
Comments attributable to Shadow Minister for Health, Georgie Crozier:
“A sad and huge price has been paid by Victorians due to Daniel Andrews’ arrogance and incompetence.
“Labor’s botched hotel quarantine program caused Victoria’s second wave but Daniel Andrews’ woefully inadequate contact tracing system prolonged the second wave.
“If Andrews had listened to the experts and invested in the contact tracing system Victoria needed, the second wave would not have been so long and deadly.
“Reckless decision-making processes, lack of transparency and multiple errors contributed to the Andrews Government’s botched contact tracing regime which has led to catastrophic outcomes.”