Emails released today amid the ongoing inquiry into Victoria’s COVID-19 hotel quarantine program have contradicted previous claims about ADF availability.
Emails released today amid the ongoing inquiry into Victoria's COVID-19 hotel quarantine program have contradicted previous claims about ADF availability.
Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews last month denied the military had been made available to help with quarantine.
And today, recordings of the state's Emergency Management Commissioner Andrew Crisp meeting with an ADF liaison officer were played.
"At this particular point in time, we don't see the need for ADF boots on the ground in support of this operation," Mr Crisp is heard saying in the recording of the March meeting.
Emails released today also revealed that Prime Minister Scott Morrison's office wrote to Mr Andrews' office on April 8, saying New South Wales had ADF personnel involved in hotel quarantine, and that the same option was there to assist Victoria "if (the government) want to reconsider your model".
An army situation report on April 20 warned Victoria was nearing its quarantine capacity of 4000.
And on June 24, the secretary of Victoria's Department of Premier and Cabinet, Chris Eccles, emailed his Canberra equivalent, Phil Gaetiens.
"The Premier and Prime Minister discussed last night the support that might be provided by the ADF in relation to the current outbreaks in Victoria," the email read.
"ADF security for passengers entering and exiting hotel quarantine. Request between 50-100 personnel."
But Mr Crisp said the request was withdrawn after the Department of Justice suggested an alternative.
"Police and protective services officers were specifically mentioned, and I was asked if I would rescind that request," he said.
But it was in the days afterwards that it was decided corrections staff would take over quarantine.
Mr Crisp also said in March that the Department of Health and Human Services was in charge of the operation.
But Health Minister Jenny Mikakos claimed in parliament today she was "not involved in the signing off of the governance structure or the operational plan" of the program.
Source: 9News https://www.9news.com.au/national/coronavirus-melbourne-hotel-quarantine-inquiry-defence-personnel-were-offered-emails-show/3ca1a0b9-9fa7-4e34-adc0-30701b9f0a19