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‘It can be done better’: Police union boss calls for ADF in hotel quarantine

The head of Victoria’s police union has expressed concern about stretched police resources as more officers are deployed to hotel quarantine, and called for the ADF to be deployed.

On Wednesday, private staff were replaced with police mid-shift at the Novotel in Southbank.

Alfred Health, which has been running the program for the state government, said the private contractors from Spotless who were replaced were hired for floor monitoring, but were not security guards.

It has been revealed that nine workers in the revamped quarantine program have tested positive to COVID-19 since late July, and two attended work while infectious.

But Premier Daniel Andrews says this week’s staffing change, from private contractors to police, was due to the dwindling number of people in hotel quarantine, not because of infection concerns.

Police Association secretary, Sergeant Wayne Gatt, said he was informed police would be replacing private contractors on Tuesday night.

“They’ve certainly been asked to step up and replace people who were doing work on floors, monitoring people,” he told Neil Mitchell.

Mr Gatt questioned the need for police to be on every floor of the hotel, and called for more ADF personnel to be deployed.

“I think it can be done better,” he said.

“Police that are performing these roles are taken off divisional vans in the community.

“If it does remain we would expect a significant increase in police resources, which will put us under pressure.

“My colleagues in NSW tell me that … they’re supported by ADF personnel. It is a combined effort under the command of the police.”

Mr Gatt said “to the best of his knowledge” there are currently no ADF in hotel quarantine.

3AW Mornings has confirmed ADF personnel are not working in hotel quarantine.

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