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Neil Mitchell: Twelve ‘crucial’ questions WorkSafe must answer about hotel quarantine charges

Neil Mitchell
Stamford Hotel lobby with Neil Mitchell headshot

WorkSafe last week charged the Victorian Health Department with 58 breaches of the WorkSafe OHS Act over the hotel quarantine mistakes that fuelled the state’s second wave of COVID-19.

The decision to charge the department, not individuals within the state government, has been labelled “surprising” by a workplace law expert.

Neil Mitchell says there are “crucial” questions WorkSafe needs to answer urgently.

“This enormously controversial decision not to prosecute, personally, Daniel Andrews or any of his ministers over the catastrophic breaches in hotel quarantine was made by an organisation whose board is heavy with people with close connections to Labor,” the 3AW Mornings host said.

“In fact, three of the eight board members, at least, have that link, plus the boss — the chief executive.

“Two of the board members have stood as endorsed Labor candidates, one of them twice.

“The chair is married to a former Labor minister and the chief executive is a former Labor spin doctor.

“That’s not to say the board or the chief executive made the decision, it’s not to say anything that happened here is wrong, but it does raise crucial questions that must be answered about the process that led to the decision not to prosecute personally, but only go after the Health Department as an entity.

“There are now crucial questions which WorkSafe needs to answer … so we can be assured that not only is justice being done, it is being seen to be done.

“I say that because it’s obvious – many key people at WorkSafe have very direct links to the Labor party and the government. That doesn’t mean they made the wrong decision, it doesn’t mean they were influenced, but it does demand questions and answers.”

Neil Mitchell says there are 12 questions WorkSafe needs to answer. He has put those questions to the body, which has not provided an official comment.

Press PLAY below to hear the 12 ‘crucial’ questions Neil Mitchell say WorkSafe should answer immediately

Image (background): Darrian Traynor / Getty

Neil Mitchell