Family Ties, The Never-ending Saga

04 April 2021 | Michael Moore Email:

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You remember the saga of the Victorian Hotel Quarantine debacle? You know that one that caused the second wave due to the incompetence of the Victorian Government pulling a ‘swifty’ and giving the contract to one of their ‘mates?’ Well that self-same security firm is now suing the Victorian Government for $10 million over none payment of the invoice as well as for the delivery of Easter eggs, gifts and food.

The security company involved in Melbourne's deadly hotel quarantine outbreak is suing the Victorian government claiming they were not paid almost $10 million for work including delivering Easter eggs, procuring Mother's Day gifts and helping food deliveries reach guests.

The Stamford Plaza Hotel on in Melbourne, Tuesday, July 14, 2020. Rydges on Swanston and Stamford Plaza hotels were isolated as the source of Melbourne's coronavirus outbreaks.

United Security Group, the security group retained by the Victorian Government without tender but with some suspicious connections between the group bosses and the Victorian Premier (see past articles on this listed below) is now suing the Jobs and Justice Department and security firm Unified Security Group, which was hastily retained by the Victorian government to carry out security at 12 quarantine hotels during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Unified Security, the government's main contractor of quarantine hotels as listed in the invoice above, is claiming that the government is unlawfully withholding $9,739,804, plus GST.

The security company also claims the state government has not paid them adequately for "ancillary" services which they performed for hotel guests.

"Unified Security provided the requested ancillary services, including purchasing toys, purchasing gifts for Mother's Day, organizing and delivering Easter eggs and receiving food deliveries from external restaurants," the Supreme Court writ claims.

Unified Security placed 1754 guards, hired through subcontractors, across 13 quarantine hotels (one hotel is not part of the lawsuit) at a cost of at least $30 million. The Age previously revealed the total cost of using private security to guard quarantine hotels was more than $60 million.

In documents it was also revealed Unified Security claims the state government and the firm had a common assumption that they wouldn't put all aspects of the services it provided in writing.

Now why was that I wonder?

Legally it means services rendered by Unified Security were not always approved by the state government and were not always captured in the contracts worked out by both parties as they hastily scaled up capacity to manage the high-stakes quarantine project.

"The parties adopted a common assumption that the State of Victoria, as represented by the DJPR, would not approve in writing the scope of services for a particular Hotel Quarantine

Facility prior to Unified Security delivering the services," the writ claims.

"The parties adopted a common assumption that Unified Security would engage subcontractors to carry out part of the security services without the need for prior written approval of the State of Victoria ... it would be unconscionable for the State of Victoria to be permitted to depart from that assumption."

Court documents also showed that Unified Security claim they sent dozens of invoices to the state government which went unpaid.

The security company also claims the government is withholding money owed to subsidiary companies contracted by Unified Security needed to quickly scale-up their workforce to deal with the job of guarding all the hotels.

The government has not yet filed a defence and the matter has not yet been listed for hearing.

Both Unified Security and the state government have declined to comment.


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