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Hotel Quarantine Inquiry – No Accountability for Failure

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Mr MORRIS (Mornington) (09:44): Last week the interim report of the hotel quarantine inquiry was released.

Now, of course we know the inquiry still has a very long way to run, but the interim recommendations are rather telling, and there is no more telling section than the recommendations relating to governance.

The report recommends that the Victorian government ensure that there are clear control and accountability structures in place for the program; that ultimate responsibility be vested in a cabinet-approved department and minister; that the minister and department be accountable for the operation of the program; that the departmental structure has clearly defined roles with the necessary expertise and advice embedded; that the responsible minister ensure members of the governance structure meet regularly and keep records of meetings, including decisions; and that the minister is briefed on the decisions reached at those meetings.

The minister, it suggests, needs to make sure that they receive regular, timely and accurate reports, and they should also set clear and consistent lines of accountability—and so it goes on.

How is it possible that ministers do not already understand the need to have accountability structures in place, to receive regular reports and to be briefed regularly?

That the commissioner felt it was necessary to explain to the government that they must have these basic measures in place, to explain accountability 101—because that is what it is, accountability 101—is an indictment on this scandal-ridden, trouble-prone, ineffectual government.