Stand-by hotel quarantine staff paid millions ‘to do absolutely nothing’
It has been revealed stand-by hotel quarantine staff were paid as much as $2000 a week while the program was on hiatus last year.
Taxpayers forked out close to $80 million over the five months from July to December, despite there being no international arrivals in Victoria at the time.
Airport terminals were empty and so were the hotels being used in Victoria’s quarantine program, but staff hired to work in them were reportedly still being paid.
“The government literally put these people in a set and forget — left them at home being paid $2000 a week at the taxpayer’s expense doing absolutely nothing,” Shadow Minister for Police & Community Safety David Southwick said.
In total, taxpayers forked out $78 million for stand-by quarantine staff and those payments allegedly continued for 1040 workers for the five months the quarantine program was on hiatus, with just 225 of those workers redeployed during that time.
It’s not known how these payments from the State Government compare to what the stood down employees would have received from the Federal Government’s JobKeeper scheme over that same period.
The paid stand-by staff included airline employees who’d been stood down, but when international flights and the state’s quarantine program resumed in December, it was Victoria Police with the bulk of the responsibilities.
“How many of those some 1000 people — that were sitting at home for five months are actually working in hotel quarantine now?” Mr Southwick asked.
Now, the state government has confirmed it’s asked Canberra for more cash to prop-up struggling industries, once Jobkeeper payments end in March.