Federal Treasurer Josh Frydenberg says it is up to the Victorian government to explain how and why the hotel quarantine program broke down.

“There is a separate process to deal with those matters. I don’t believe those reports are accurate, but in any event that’s not a matter for me to sit in judgment of,” Mr Andrews said.
Former judge Jennifer Coate, the head of the inquiry, has said that there is nothing preventing the government from speaking publicly about the hotel quarantine program because the inquiry is not a court.
The Age and the Herald on Saturday revealed that officials in the Department of Jobs, Precincts and Regions employment division and its international trade agency, Global Victoria, were responsible for engaging private security firms for hotel quarantine on the weekend of March 28 and 29.
The Sydney-based security company given much of the hotel quarantine work, Unified Security, satisfied the Victorian government’s criteria for contracts under its social inclusion procurement policy as an Indigenous-owned organisation.
It was also revealed a senior Department of Jobs official had been shifted from their role, but departmental sources insisted that the official’s secondment to another senior job creation role was not a reflection on their performance in contracting private security firms for hotel quarantine.
Asked whether he was concerned about the reports, Mr Frydenberg said there have been “very serious failures when it comes to quarantine in Victoria with deadly consequences, and Victorians are entitled to know more and get the answers”.
“Victorians know the ‘what’, but they don’t know the ‘how’ and the ‘why’ when it comes to the quarantine failures. I’ll leave that to the Victorian government to provide that explanation,” he said.
Mr Frydenberg said state governments should foot more of the bill in helping the rebuild the nation’s recovery, pointing out his government had spent $314 billion on its JobKeeper program, paid pandemic leave and other initiatives.
“In comparison, the states and territories have made a commitment of nearly $45 billion, or just over 2 per cent of the gross state product,” he said. “The states can do more; the states need to do more.”
Of the extra $15.6 billion the federal government recently committed for the JobKeeper payment, Mr Frydenberg said “around” $13 billion would go to Victorian workers due to the impact of the stage four lockdown.
“And what we’re dealing with here is hundreds of new cases in Victoria every day, 97 to 98 per cent of new cases in Australia are coming from Victoria alone,” he said.
“There needs to be accountability, there needs to be an explanation.
“Victorians deserve that, Victorians want that, Victorians need that at this difficult time. They’re being asked to make major sacrifices right now.”
Anthony is foreign affairs and national security correspondent for The Sydney Morning Herald and The Age.