VICTORIA Premier Daniel Andrews has announced an Inquiry into how the Hotel Quarantine Inquiry ran $2,700,000 over budget.
It was revealed last week that the cost of the inquiry into Victoria’s bungled hotel quarantine program blew out from $3,000,000 to $5,700,000.
The Premier told reporters this was the first time he could recall an ALP project going over budget.
“I’ve decided to call for an inquiry into the cost of the inquiry so I obviously can’t comment on the cost of the inquiry or on the inquiry itself since that is what we are going to inquire into with this new inquiry.”
The inquiry into Victoria’s bungled hotel quarantine program did not discover who was responsible for the program’s failure despite hearing from dozens of witnesses over the course of three months.
Mr Andrews rejected suggestions that $5,700,000 was a lot of money to spend to find out that no one remembered anything.
“On the contrary, I would have spent 10 times that amount for the result we got.”
The inquiry into the hotel quarantine inquiry will hear from government ministers and public servants in a bid to understand failures to contain the spread of costs.
The Premier has said he does not know who made the decision to use Labor MPs, rather than people who had experience with money, to keep expenses from getting away.
It was an error that ultimately blew the budget by 90 per cent.
It is believed Mr Andrews had rejected an offer of assistance from people qualified in containing costs when the quarantine inquiry was established because he believed his government did not need any help.
“We cancelled the East West Link at a cost to Victorians of more than $1,100,000,000 and we did that successfully without any assistance from people with expertise in money.”
Despite this, the Premier is expected to tell the inquiry into the cost of the hotel quarantine inquiry that “unacceptable mistakes were made” and that he is “accountable for any mistakes” before nominating one of his ministers as the person he believes ultimately responsible.
Mr Andrews said he would take responsibility for any budgeting failures identified by the inquiry which is due to report after the inquiry it is inquiring into hands down its report in November.
“But no matter the findings of any inquiry, I will not be resigning. I don’t run from problems and challenges. And besides, it has never been a challenge for Labor to blow a budget and nor have we ever seen cost over-runs as a problem.”
Mr Andrews promised that if the final expenditure on the hotel quarantine inquiry came in at under $5,700,000 the leftover funds would be used to employ a gender queer, two-spirited, pan-sexual diversity officer to oversee all future government spending.
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