Australian News

Public servants to give evidence

Senior public servants will be grilled today as part of the inquiry into Melbourne’s flawed hotel quarantine scheme.

The inquiry is due to hear evidence from Department of Jobs, Precincts and Regions secretary Simon Phemister and Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Kym Peake.

On Monday, Victoria’s top public servant Chris Eccles said he stepped out of a national cabinet meeting on March 27 to call Mr Phemister after learning the hotel quarantine program had to be developed quickly.

“(I called him) to get on with it,” Mr Eccles told the inquiry.

“We had 36 hours to accommodate at that time an unknown number of international travellers.”

Mr Eccles said he needed someone with “deep logistical experience” that could source thousands of hotel rooms.

“He took the bit between his teeth and ran with it.”

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