Vic Govt inclusion executive sent by Trades Hall Council to help the union body "learn more" about Unified Security

Around the time that Unified's guards were alleged to have been on the grog while guarding quarantine hotels, and the viral seeds of 768 deaths were escaping into the community, Victoria's Executive Director of Employment Inclusion Katrina Curry was singing Unified Security's praises to the highest office in the state - the Trades Hall Council.

So when the 'Union peak' group decided it wanted to learn more about Unified Security and their work, it dispatched the taxpayer funded Ms Curry to help out.

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Reminder - Victoria's new workplace manslaughter laws, 20 years jail for individuals

Repubished - original published 19 August 2020.

Victorian Workcover asked to prosecute over Andrews govt hotel quarantine fiasco

On 1 July this year Victoria added a new industrial manslaughter law to the Occupational Health and Safety Act 2004 (Vic) (OHS Act).

It applies to the government, officers, self-employed and organisations.

There are huge penalties including fines of $16.5m for employers and jail terms of up to 20 years and fines of up to $1.65m for officers whose actions or omissions:

  • cause the death of a worker or member of the public;
  • involve a breach of an OHS duty;
  • were negligent.

The criminal negligence standard applies, ie where there is a "great falling short of the care that would have been taken by a reasonable person in the circumstances in which the conduct was engaged in, and involves a high risk of death or serious injury or serious illness".

Under the new laws, senior officers could be liable (in addition to the employer) where they are negligent by failing to take reasonable steps on workplace safety to prevent fatalities, including managing mental injury that leads to suicide.

Now here's Self-Employed Australia's report to the Authority.

SeA-Letter-to-Workcover-180820

SeA-Letter-to-Workcover-180820

This from the organisation behind this prosecution request, Self-Employed Australia.

We trigger OHS investigation of Victorian Covid-19 hotel quarantine mess

Wednesday, August 19, 2020

Yesterday we wrote to the Victorian WorkCover Authority requesting them to investigate the Covid-19 hotel quarantine mess for possible breaches under the Victorian work safety laws (Occupational Health & Safety Act). Section 131 of the Act allows us to lodge such a request on the Authority who, under the Act must investigate and respond.

The Victorian government has pretty much admitted that the second Covid-19 wave outbreak happened because of the botched hotel quarantine mess in March. Hundreds of deaths have occurred following this.

If anything like this sort of scenario had happened in a private-sector business, we could be sure that a massive investigation would be undertaken by the Victorian WorkCover Authority. The investigation would look to see if prosecution should occur under the Victorian OHS Act, including application of the new manslaughter provisions. But the WorkCover Authority has done nothing over the Covid-19 disaster.

The Victorian government has established an Inquiry into the failures. However, all the Inquiry can do is write a report. The inquiry does not have the investigative and prosecutorial powers available to it that the WorkCover Authority has on OHS matters.

The core facts, well recorded in the media, are that:
  • The Victorian government had advance knowledge of the need for quarantine.
  • The Victorian Police, Corrections Victoria and the Australian Defence Force (ADF) have high level experience, training, capacity and authority in the area of detention.
  • The Victorian government requested ADF assistance, which was ready to go, but the request was withdrawn a day later.
  • The government instead used private security firms unsupported by either police, prison staff or the ADF.
  • The private security personnel on the ground in the hotels had neither the training, experience, skills, nor the authority to manage people in detention.
  • The Covid-19 outbreak followed.
Everything points to the probability of recklessness in the chain of command and control of decision-making related to the quarantines.

This Covid-19 outbreak is arguably the largest mass deaths event resulting from a workplace incident in Australia’s history. The Victorian WorkCover Authority has a statutory duty to investigate with a view to proceeding to prosecution if warranted. From all available information the Authority has done nothing.

The Authority is required under the Act to investigate and respond to us. If the Authority fails to undertake its statutory obligation under the Act, we will apply for a court to order the Authority to undertake the required investigation.

You can help. We anticipate that we will need to seek court orders.
 
You can contribute to our legal fighting fund for this action here.

Hotel Inquiry - failure of the hotel quarantine program is responsible for 768 deaths.

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Counsel assisting the Hotel Quarantine Inquiry Ben Ihle delivered a devastating final submission to the Inquiry today .

“The failure by the hotel quarantine program to contain this virus is today responsible for the deaths of 768 people and the infection of some 18,490,” he said.

“One only needs to pause and to reflect on those figures to appreciate the full scope of devastation and despair.”

People involved in the management (or mismanagement) of the program may well find themselves answering criminal charges under Victoria's industrial manslaughter laws.


Crown Casino sent Vic Gov serious complaints against Unified Security - who do you think was appointed to investigate?

On 23 April Crown Resorts received a very serious detailed complaint against Unified Security and their staff working at Crown's Melbourne hotel.

The report gave times, dates and places and named names, alleging:

  • Guards were drinking and were drunk on duty
  • Guards regularly sexually harassed female staff
  • Guards were involved in a physical fight in the hotel lobby with one guard choking another - police attended

Perhaps most seriously, the report alleged serious financial fraud, including theft, false invoicing and falsified accounts.

Here's the note from Crown's regulatory and compliance manager to the Victorian Government's Hotel Quarantine Agency Commander, Rachaele May.

 

 

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So what do you think happened next?

Did the Victorian Government investigate the alleged fraud, or take the matter to police?

Did it engage an external auditor?

Did it interview witnesses and Unified management to test the allegations?

If you answered none of the above, you'd be correct.

Unbelievably, the Victorian Government's Principal Policy Officer, Inclusion Employment, sent the complaint against Unified Security TO UNIFIED SECURITY, and asked it to investigate itself!

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"Please investigate yourself, take appropriate action and let us know how you go".

He even included Crown's original report to the government.

Unified responded by sacking some staff - and the Victorian Government accepted that as the end of the matter.

Several further complaints were laid against Unified and its staff.  In each instance, the Victorian Government officers sent all the details to Unified and asked it to investigate itself.

Incompetence is the kindest way to view this shameful episode, which frankly borders on corruption.

 


Notification to the Hotel Quarantine Inquiry from a legal reader of conspicuous distinction - Marmion

So, 24 minutes before the National Cabinet meeting finished at 1:00PM on Friday 27 March 2020, David Millward was advising his staff at 12:36PM to go on to a Health Department Web page to undertake a 10 minute course in infection control.

My, what coincidence!

I recall Premier's Department Secretary, Chris Eccles gave evidence that he stepped out of the National Cabinet to give Jobs Department Secretary a heads up on the move to Hotel Quarantine and asked him about his ability to source hotel rooms and to check with someone else on logistics.

Jobs Secretary, Simon Phemister said in his evidence he also phoned Kym Peake, Secretary of the Health Department to give her a heads up as he formed the view that her Department would be engaged in the health responsibilities of Hotel Quarantine.

So did someone, in the Jobs Department or someone in thee Health Department, give a "Heads up" to David Millward of Unified Security, before or during the meeting of the National Cabinet when it decided on Hotel Quarantine?

What about National Cabinet secrecy?

The Hotel Quarantine Inquiry is meeting again at 10:00AM tomorrow for hearings.

Perhaps they should be alerted to this and add this to their stated plans to examine in detail the contracts of private security and the payments to them.

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Hotel Quarantine Security infection control training - "it only takes 10 minutes" online tick and flick

From the Kimberley Kitching Memorial Training Institute - the 'it only takes 10 minutes' approach to turning an unlicensed security operator into a qualified infection quarantine control professional.

How could the virus escape Victoria's experts?

From the owner of Unified Security to his 'can meet any requirements' professionals.

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From the owner of Unified to the Victorian Government's Executive Director of Employment Inclusion

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And as a lovely souvenir, the owner of Unified Security received this cut-out-and-keep certificate of acknowledgement that he'd put in the required 'only takes 10 minutes' computer tick and flick time.

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Hotel Quarantine Security - from ZERO to $30M HERO in one 11.33PM email

UPDATED

From the witness statement of David Millward to Victoria's Hotel Quarantine Inquiry

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Here's The Age's report about Unified Security's licence expiration:

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At 11.33PM on Friday 27 March, the Victorian Government's Executive Director of Employment Inclusion wrote to Unified Security's majority owner to effectively ask if he wanted what turned out to be a $30M contract.

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There were a few problems, like the fact that none of Unified's officers held a security licence in Victoria.

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 But that was no problem for Victoria's Department of Inclusion.

A flurry of text messages followed.

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And that was that.

It was good to know that the unlicensed security company had "the capability at the moment for any requirements".

They could invade China.  Fix world hunger.  

You name the requirements, they have the capability at the moment.

By the end of the week, Victoria's Principal Policy Officer, Inclusion Employment had set out 'the requirements' in a one page email.

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The boys all agreed that it looked great, so the one page email was then made into a Schedule to a $30M contract.

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Unsurprisingly, David didn't have any issues or queries.

Who would with an offer like that!

So if you were wondering how to go from being

  • an operator with no licensed bosses,
  • an unaccredited, and
  • non-registered security service provider to the Victorian Government

to

  • Cracking a $30M instant contract!

This is how it's done!!!!!

Why aren't we all rich?