It is time that the Police Minister, Lisa Neville, and the Andrews Government levelled with Victorians about the COVID-19 hotel quarantine debacle.

Premier Andrews today told a parliamentary committee inquiry that the Australian Defence Force was “not on offer” for hotel quarantine work.

This contradicts his own 27 March statement confirming “It has also been agreed that the Australian Defence Force will be engaged to support the implementation” of the program.

This is incredibly disappointing.

Defence Minister Linda Reynolds confirmed in a statement today that the Prime Minister, on 27 March, made an offer to all states and territories for ADF support with the new mandatory 14 day quarantine period for international arrivals.  This agreement was reversed by the Victorian Government the following day.

The Minister also confirmed the ADF asked whether Victorian authorities required assistance with its mandatory quarantine system on multiple occasions and, on 14 April, the ADF shared observations on best practice quarantine compliance monitoring operations with all state and territory police commissioners.

Then, on 24 June 2020, Defence agreed to a Victorian Government request (made by Emergency Management Victoria Commissioner Andrew Crisp) for 850 ADF personnel to assist with hotel quarantine. This request was withdrawn by the Victorian Government the following day.

As the Minister responsible for Victoria Police and EMV, what was Lisa Neville doing through all of this? She needs to explain this hotel quarantine bungle including why agreements for the ADF to provide vital support were withdrawn by her government?

Ms Neville is a handpicked member of  Victoria’s Crisis Council of Cabinet. She should have the courage to explain why the Premier gave this account.

We know that the hotel quarantine scandal has caused this alarming second wave of community transmissions which has led to so many tragic deaths.

Victorians deserve credible answers to what has gone so wrong in our state.

11 August 2020