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WorkSafe must act on flawed hotel quarantine

Victorians have yet again been let down abysmally by the Andrews Labor Government.  People are getting sick, many are being forced to self-isolate and 6.5 million are locked down once more.  

Despite the Premier’s desperate efforts, this breach is not a result of some “wicked” new virus or strain. This breach is a result of the same old story: Labor has bungled hotel quarantine and Victorians have been left to pay the price.

Despite the Premier boasting about Labor’s “gold standard” hotel quarantine program, we now know it, like its predecessor, is flawed.

Not only are there deficiencies in the quality and use of PPE such as masks, face shields, and goggles; purported rules about nebuliser use are not being enforced; hotel ventilation is under question; hotel workers were not being tested on their days off; and CCTV, critical in supervising workers and to the task of figuring out how the virus has spread within quarantine hotels, is not present on each floor. No doubt this is only scratching the surface.

All of this could have been avoided if WorkSafe had acted swiftly in holding the Andrews Labor Government to account for its significant contraventions of Victoria’s OH&S laws in last year’s iteration of hotel quarantine. 

Furthermore, the deficiencies in the current program might have been detected if WorkSafe, in consideration of the enormous health and safety risks present in the Andrews Labor Government’s hotel quarantine program for hotel workers, residents, and the Victorian community at large, had taken decisive action to monitor and enforce the Government’s OH&S obligations.

The Liberal Nationals have called on WorkSafe CEO Colin Radford to reassure Victorians that WorkSafe is not only investigating Labor’s current and previous hotel quarantine programs, but that WorkSafe has been taking, and continues to take, decisive action to monitor and enforce the Andrews Labor Government’s compliance with its OH&S obligations.

To date, Victorians have received little reassurance, with WorkSafe merely stating that there are ongoing investigations in relation to the previous hotel quarantine program.

Comments attributable to Shadow Minister for Workplace Safety and Emergency Services, Nick Wakeling:

“The Premier needs to stop boasting, deflecting and spinning. The Premier simply needs to do his job and keep the community safe.

“Victorians have heard the same old rubbish from this Premier and are quite frankly sick of it.

“WorkSafe needs to do its job swiftly and effectively, recognising the enormous health and safety risks present in the Andrews Labor Government’s hotel quarantine program for hotel workers, residents, and the Victorian community.

“Had WorkSafe not only held the Andrews Labor Government to account for its previous OH&S breaches in the initial hotel quarantine program, but also used its powers to effectively monitor and enforce its OH&S obligations in relation to the previous and current hotel quarantine programs, Victorians might not be where we are today.”

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