Key documents missing from Victoria’s hotel quarantine inquiry will delay the handing down of a final report by more than six weeks.
In a statement the Board of Inquiry said it would deliver an interim report on November 6, which was when the final report was originally supposed to be handed down.
“This unfortunate delay is due to the provision of additional material which occurred after the conclusion of closing submissions on 28 September 2020, as detailed at the extraordinary sitting on 20 October 2020,” a statement published on Thursday morning read.
“As a result of this additional material, the Board has issued several further notices to produce and requests for affidavits. Several documents and affidavits are presently outstanding and may lead to further inquiries.”
Victoria chief health officer professor Brett Sutton was given seven days to provide a statement to the hotel quarantine inquiry to explain conflicting evidence. Picture: David Geraghty/NCA NewsWireSource:News Corp Australia
It comes after Professor Sutton was given seven days to provide a statement to the hotel quarantine inquiry to explain conflicting evidence after it was revealed on October 20 he had instructed his lawyers to withhold a key email.
Premier Daniel Andrews was also asked to answer an additional set of questions he likened to a “questionnaire” following his appearance at the inquiry in late September.
Former health minister Jenny Mikakos turned on the Premier after he appeared, saying his decision to “subvert” usual cabinet process caused the hotel quarantine disaster.
Department of Premier and Cabinet secretary Chris Eccles also resigned over his bombshell phone records.
They revealed he had spoken to former Victoria Police chief commissioner Graham Ashton for two minutes during a crucial six-minute window being probed by the inquiry.
Victoria cannot welcome international travellers until a report into why the state’s hotel quarantine program failed the first time is handed down. Picture: David Geraghty/NCA NewsWireSource:News Corp Australia
The hotel quarantine inquiry’s final report will now be delivered on Monday, December 21. It is expected to provide key findings into the state’s initial bungled scheme and recommendations on establishing another program in future.
“Inquiry Chair the Hon. Jennifer Coate AO wrote to Premier Daniel Andrews on 28 October 2020 to advise that the Board would not be able to deliver a final report by 6 November 2020, and to propose this alternative way forward,” the Board’s statement read.
“The Premier responded on 29 October 2020 advising that he agreed that the Board‘s final reporting date should be extended.”
The Board of Inquiry’s interim report due on Friday, November 6 will contain recommendations for a proposed quarantine program.
Mr Andrews has previously said Victoria cannot welcome international travellers until the report is handed down and light is shed on why the state’s hotel quarantine program failed the first time.
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