A contract between the Victorian Government and one of the security companies hired for hotel quarantine shows it was the company’s responsibility to ensure guards undertook infection control training.

A contract between the Victorian Government and one of the security companies hired for hotel quarantine shows it was the company’s responsibility to ensure guards undertook infection control training and wore personal protective equipment at all times.
Key points:

  • The hotel quarantine contract between Wilson Security and the Victorian Government has been obtained by 7.30
  • The contract shows it was the company’s responsibility to train guards to be coronavirus-safe
  • The contract also shows it was up to the company to supply personal protective equipment

The contract, obtained by 7.30, also reveals the security company was required to notify and receive written approval from the State Government before hiring any subcontractors.
Under the agreement between Wilson Security and the Victorian Government’s Department of Jobs, it was up to the security company to provide training at its own cost in workplace health and safety and risk management, as well as COVID-19 safety inductions and infection control training, before guards started work.
The agreement states the security company must ensure personnel “wear all necessary personal protective equipment at all times” while providing security services.
Professor Emmanuel Josserand from UTS reviewed the contract for 7.30.
“You can’t rely on the type of workforce that is casualised, undertrained and sometimes underpaid as well to really handle complex health protocols that are as risky and dangerous as the ones we have,” he said.
Wilson Security told 7.30 it notified the Victorian Government of its contracted security labour and did not permit further subcontracting.
The company said it provided all its guards and contractors with PPE “over and above the requirements” as well as the necessary training.
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Guards seemed ‘a bit overwhelmed’
Nurse Sue Erasmus spent two weeks in hotel quarantine in Melbourne.(ABC News: Christopher Gillette)
Brisbane nurse Sue Erasmus and her family flew into Melbourne from South Africa in May and spent 14 days quarantined in the Stamford Plaza, one of two hotels at the centre of Victoria’s second wave.
Security at the Stamford Plaza was provided by MSS Security, one of three firms selected by the Victorian Government without tender to run Melbourne’s quarantine hotels.
She said she thought the contracted security staff were not prepared for such a critical task.
“I got the impression they were a bit overwhelmed,” Ms Erasmus told 7.30.
“There were times they didn’t have masks on from what I remember.
“There wasn’t any continuity of care amongst the guards, certainly not on our floor. I had the impression the guards were rotated between us and other hotels.”
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‘Outbreak management should be done by outbreak experts’
Security guard Shayla Shakshi speaks out.
Last week, 19-year-old security guard Shayla Shakshi told 7.30 she received no infection control training when she worked at the Stamford Plaza in May.
“They had no training of how to use PPE, how to sanitise hands, nothing. No training at all,” she said.
Ms Shakshi also said she was recruited to do the contract work via a messaging app.
“I got put on a WhatsApp group and they’re like, ‘Would you like to work at this place?’ And I’m like, I don’t know what you guys are, what company, nothing else,” she said.
Epidemiologist Mary-Louise McLaws said regardless of what was in the contracts with the three security companies, there should have been greater oversight by health experts at all quarantine hotels.
“Outbreak management needs to be done by outbreak experts,” she told 7.30.
“In hindsight, it’s not necessarily the best idea to have service providers do everything.”
An inquiry is examining what went wrong in the hotel quarantine program and has so far named six hotels, 10 state government agencies and eight security companies as being “of interest”.
In a statement to 7.30, a Victorian Government spokesperson said the “judicial inquiry has been established at arm’s length from government to examine issues relating to hotel quarantine”.
“All departments and agencies will fully cooperate with the inquiry.
“We will let the inquiry do its work our focus remains on containing this virus.”
MMS Security declined to answer 7.30’s questions.
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