Jobs Minister Martin Pakula not aware of security concerns until inquiry was established

Victorian Jobs Minister Martin Pakula said in his statement presented to the inquiry he was unaware of the concerns his department had about private security until the Premier called an inquiry into the botched program.

“I did not become aware of any concerns within DJPR regarding the way in which the program was being managed, including about the way it was being led by DHHS, until after this inquiry was established,” he wrote in his statement.

Mr Pakula was asked by counsel assisting the inquiry, Rachel Ellyard, whether he should have been notified of the issues earlier.

“Not especially,” he responded.

Retired judge Jennifer Coate, who is chairing the inquiry, probed Mr Pakula on who he believed held ultimate accountability for the program, saying the evidence so far had been “varied”.

The Minister said it was “quite clear” responsibility for the state’s coronavirus response lay with the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS).

“There was to my understanding one department in charge, if you like, and [that department] had overall responsibility, and my department … was to assist the control agency, which was in this case DHHS,” he said.

Reporting by Elias Clure.


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