One of Victoria’s most experienced and respected judicial officers will lead an inquiry into the COVID-19 hotel quarantine program.
Premier Daniel Andrews announced today that The Honourable Jennifer Coate AO (pictured, left) will head the inquiry, which will examine the operation of Victoria’s hotel quarantine program for returning travellers.
“It is abundantly clear that what has gone on here is completely unacceptable and we need to know exactly what has happened,” said Mr Andrews.
“Justice Coate is one of Australia’s most experienced jurists – every Victorian can be confident that she will oversee a thorough and independent inquiry to deliver the answers that Victorians deserve.”
Justice Coate was one of six Royal Commissioners appointed to lead the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse and has served on the Magistrates’ Court of Victoria, the Coroners Court of Victoria, the Federal Court and as President of the Children’s Court of Victoria.
The Chief Health Officer has advised the Government that a number of cases of coronavirus in the community have been linked through genomic sequencing to an infection control breach in the hotel quarantine program.
The inquiry will begin promptly and will examine a range of matters including:
- decisions and actions of government agencies, hotel operators and private contractors;
- communication between government agencies, hotel operators and private contractors;
- contractual arrangements;
- information, guidance, training and equipment provided to staff in hotels;
- policies, protocols and procedures.
The Victorian Government has provided $3 million to support the inquiry in its work, with a report to be delivered to the Governor by 25 September.
The Premier said no international returned travellers will be arriving in Melbourne for two weeks while the hotel quarantine program is reset under the supervision of Corrections Victoria.