The inquiry into Victoria’s botched hotel quarantine program has run out of time and will not hand down its final report on November 6, it has been revealed.
The inquiry into Victoria’s botched hotel quarantine program has run out of time and will not hand down its final report on November 6, it has been revealed.

Hotel quarantine inquiry fails to meet deadline

The hotel quarantine inquiry has run out of time and will not hand down its final report on November 6.

The Herald Sun can reveal that with just eight days to go before the report deadline, information remains outstanding from the Department of Health and Human Services.

The department confirmed it had received "further requests'' for information from the board of inquiry chaired by retired judge Jennifer Coate.

It had also been asked for information from Chief Health Officer Brett Sutton about emails which were only produced after public hearings had closed.

The inquiry has asked for information about Chief Health Officer Brett Sutton’s emails. Picture: NCA NewsWire / David Geraghty
The inquiry has asked for information about Chief Health Officer Brett Sutton’s emails. Picture: NCA NewsWire / David Geraghty

Given all parties have seven days to respond to any requests for information, it is now impossible for the board to complete its investigations and finalise its report before next Friday, when it was due to be handed to Governor Linda Dessau.

"DHHS has received further requests for information from the Board of Inquiry this week,'' a spokesman said.

"One request seeks information from Professor Sutton about emails that have recently been produced to the board.

"DHHS is committed to co-operating with the board and responding to these requests in a timely way.''

The inquiry is chaired by retired judge Jennifer Coate. Picture: Getty Images
The inquiry is chaired by retired judge Jennifer Coate. Picture: Getty Images

Ms Coate could hand down interim or partial findings, including recommendations about how a future quarantine program could be run.

This could then allow Victoria to restart its stalled quarantine program for overseas returning travellers.

But under this scenario the report would not address other issues, such as who made and endorsed the disastrous decision to hire private security, who was in charge, and why the Victorian government rebuffed offers of assistance from the Australian Defence Force to guard the hotels.

Daniel Andrews on Wednesday said he had "no decision, no advice'' from the inquiry on whether it would meet its November 6 deadline.

"If and when that is a thing, I will be happy to talk to you about it,'' the Premier said.

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Originally published as Hotel quarantine inquiry fails to meet deadline


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