Health Minister Jenny Mikakos tells Victorian coronavirus hotel quarantine inquiry she was in the dark about security guards plan

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fairly difficult
Victorian Health Minister Jenny Mikakos tells the inquiry she does not know who suggested and approved the use of private security guards in the state's bungled hotel quarantine program.
Victorian Health Minister Jenny Mikakos does not know who suggested and approved the use of private security guards in hotel quarantine, the inquiry into the state's bungled program has heard.

Key points: Ms Mikakos says she first learned private security was being used in May when an outbreak at the Rydges Hotel on Swanston Street emerged

Ms Mikakos says she first learned private security was being used in May when an outbreak at the Rydges Hotel on Swanston Street emerged She says in future she would not support the use of private security guards in such programs

She says in future she would not support the use of private security guards in such programs Her understanding was hotel quarantine was "a multi-agency response with shared responsibility"

Ms Mikakos told the Victorian COVID-19 Hotel Quarantine Inquiry today she was not consulted on the program's establishment and said a multi-agency response had resulted in "too many cooks spoiling the broth".

The inquiry also heard that Ms Mikakos was kept in the dark on major issues and reviews involving the program throughout the year.

She said she was not even aware of the use of private security guards until May, when an outbreak at the Rydges on Swanston hotel emerged.

In her much-anticipated appearance before former judge Jennifer Coate's probe, Ms Mikakos said she was not part of any decision-making process to use private security contractors.

"I believe I first became aware of the use of private security guards contracted by DJPR (Department of Jobs, Precincts and Regions) in the HQP (hotel quarantine program) after the Rydges outbreak occurred in late May," she said.

"In particular, at around that time, I was advised by the DHHS (Department of Health and Human Services) public health team that the private security contractors engaged to participate in the HQP had the contractual responsibility to provide personal protective equipment (PPE) and infection prevention and control training to their…
Richard Willingham
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