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Premier claims 100 ADF troops on offer ‘may not have been for hotel quarantine’

Published: (Updated: ) in Australian News by .

The 100 Australian Defence Force troops who were placed on standby in Victoria in March may not have been for hotel quarantine assistance, Premier Daniel Andrews said.

The 100 Australian Defence Force troops who were placed on standby in Victoria in March may not have been for hotel quarantine assistance, Premier Daniel Andrews said.

The premier has been consistently grilled in daily press conferences over the state's botched program and why ADF troops were not deployed to act as security rather than privately hired contractors, which led to multiple breaches in infection control.

Mr Andrews today said the 100 defence personnel confirmed to be on standby by the ADF on March 27 may not have been for hotel quarantine specifically, but to assist with other quarantine measures such as spot checks.

READ MORE: Victoria records 372 new virus cases, 14 additional deaths

"Hotels and people in their homes, they are different things," he said.

"I'm saying there are two important operations here and it's important for all of us to have a really acute understanding that Operation Soteria and Sentinel are not the same things."

The premier earlier told the state's parliamentary inquiry the notion there were hundreds of ADF staff on offer to help with the state's hotel quarantine program was "fundamentally incorrect".

Federal Defence Minister Linda Reynolds later disputed that claim and said Victoria rejected offers for help from the ADF in March.

READ MORE: Timeline of how Victoria's hotel quarantine bungle unfolded

However, Emergency Management Commissioner Andrew Crisp said no ADF assistance was offered as part of the hotel quarantine program.

"I can confirm that the Australian Defence Force were involved in the initial planning of the hotel quarantine program," Mr Crisp's statement read.

READ:  Authorities still trying to learn how 'dead' woman was alive

"Representatives of the ADF participated in the Operation Soteria planning and coordination meetings on 27 and 28 March 2020.

https://twitter.com/andrew_lund/status/1293318531023425536

"During these discussions I did not seek nor did representatives of the ADF offer assistance as part of the hotel quarantine program.

"Subsequent communications with the ADF on the 12th and 15th of April did not relate to ADF assistance as part of the program."

Coronavirus: Victorian Premier gives update on COVID-19

Victoria's Health Minister Jenny Mikakos was yesterday stripped of hotel quarantine responsibilities, the scheme being handed to Attorney-General Jill Hennessy.

Mr Andrews today said the request for ADF staff was "essentially superseded" and it was decided Corrections Victoria would manage the program in July, after breaches in infection control were revealed.

"We decided Corrections Victoria could do the job and no criticism of anyone in the defence force. The people who run our jails are uniquely qualified to keep people locked up," he said.

Source: 9News https://www.9news.com.au/national/coronavirus-victoria-premier-claims-100-adf-troops-may-not-have-been-for-hotel-quarantine/5fa8978a-a480-4fc7-a256-e5657f6358a1

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