Leaked emails suggest that Victoria’s top doctor knew in March that private security guards would be used in the bungled hotel quarantine program.
Chief Health Officer Brett Sutton told an inquiry that he had no idea contractors were being used until May.
But leaked emails published by the Age newspaper between him and staff from late March contradict these claims.
The email chain was from the day hotel quarantine arrangements were being made, specifically in response to a question about ways to ensure quarantine compliance.
Damning emails reveal Victoria’s Chief Health Officer Brett Sutton (pictured) was told months ago private security would be used in the bungled hotel quarantine program
Correspondence from a colleague within the Department of Health on March 27 clearly spelled out plans to use private contractors.
‘Directions will be provided to passengers as the (sic) disembark and will be supported by Victoria Police at the airport. Private security is being contracted to provide security at the hotels with escalation arrangements to VicPol as needed,’ the email read.
Sutton sent through a response only three minutes later saying: ‘Thanks so much.’
But during the inquiry into the state’s hotel quarantine program he said he wasn’t aware of this fact under after the outbreak at Rydges on Swanston.
Since the emails were leaked Professor Sutton has doubled down on his testimony made during the inquiry, ABC news reported.
Private security guards were pulled from a Melbourne quarantine hotel and replaced by police in September. Pictured: cleaning staff at a Melbourne CBD quarantine hotel
The disastrous hotel quarantine blunder sparked a second wave in Victoria in which more than 700 people lost their lives (pictured: new arrivals are ushered into the Crown Promenade Hotel in Melbourne)
‘I saw that they were responding back to the Commonwealth and I thanked them for the responses that they were given, but I clearly did not register that anything was being said about private security,’ Professor Sutton said.
‘Otherwise I would’ve gone to the inquiry and said that I was aware of it.’
The emails were not included as evidence during the inquiry.
Professor Sutton said he is willing to be re-examined and officials will provide ‘anything else that’s requested’.
Pictured: A little girl wearing a face mask is ushered into hotel quarantine at the Crown Promenade hotel by private security guards wearing hi vis, gloves and masks
The inquiry into Victoria’s hotel quarantine program, is set to be reopened at 2pm on Tuesday.
On Friday, the Board of Inquiry, chaired by retired judge Jennifer Coate, announced it would hold a sitting next week.
The board has reportedly received new phone logs from Premier Daniel Andrews and his staff and previously unseen documents from the Department of Health and Human Services that warranted reopening the inquiry.
The inquiry into Melbourne’s hotel quarantine scheme is set to be reopened after the board received new phone logs from Premier Daniel Andrews (pictured) and his staff and previously unseen documents from the Department of Health and