Labor’s hotel quarantine gravy-train rolls on

Confirmation today that the Andrews Labor Government has continued to pay hundreds of hotel quarantine staff a full salary despite not working a single day on site is yet another slap in the face to hard working Victorians.

Up to 550 hotel quarantine workers have paid annual salaries of between $75,000 and $120,000, despite the suspension of international flights on February 13th as around 200 staff remain on “standby”, with 280 “idle” and a further 60 as “backup”.

These revelations follow $78 million paid to hotel quarantine workers to do nothing whilst the program was suspended for five months following Labor’s catastrophic second wave in mid-2020.

Furthermore, reports of a break-in and attempted burglary at a hotel quarantine facility on Sunday afternoon is the latest significant security and infection control failure and follows up to 70 similar incident reports across January to April 2021, including:

  • Confirmation the January Holiday Inn outbreak was triggered by a doorway swab, not a resident who used a nebuliser as blamed by the Andrews Labor Government.

  • A decision to switch off ventilation systems for 10 to 14 hours a day to save “save energy”.

  • The General Manager of COVID-19 Quarantine Victoria’s Infection Prevention and Control twice breaching infection control protocols.

  • A nurse working in hotel quarantine attempting to provide a returned traveller with a banned nebuliser.

  • A frontline medical worker vaping inside a quarantine hotel despite warnings such action could promote the spread of COVID-19.

  • Residential support officers complaining of boredom and sleepiness, due to the warmth in hotel corridors.

  • High risk transfer procedures involving up to 17 staff from six government agencies for moving a returned traveller from a regular hotel to a hot hotel.

Victorians have simply lost confidence in the Andrews Labor Government’s ability to deliver a safe and effective quarantine program. Labor must drop their go-it-alone approach and implement the successful models being used interstate.

Comments attributable to Shadow Minister for Police and Crime Prevention, David Southwick:

“The only thing gold standard about Victoria’s quarantine program is its ability to waste taxpayer money, trigger outbreaks and not learn anything from past mistakes.

“The Andrews Labor Government’s decision to keep hundreds of unused workers on its hotel quarantine gravy-train is a slap in the face to every Victorian struggling to get back on their feet.

“With 70 breaches in four months and tens of millions of dollars wasted on pay-for-no-work wages, Labor’s hotel quarantine program continues to fail the community.”

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