Bureaucrat that boasted about hotel quarantine to front inquiry

 

The CEO behind the tone-deaf promotional video spruiking the State Government hotel quarantine program will appear at the inquiry investigating the program's disastrous failures.

Gonul Serbest, the head of the agency Global Victoria, will give evidence before former judge Jennifer Coate, who is examining how COVID-19 jumped the quarantine barrier from infected overseas passengers and started Victoria's catastrophic second wave.

Ms Serbest is one of three bureaucrats from the Department of Jobs, Precincts and Regions who were involved in the establishment of the program ahead of its launch on March 29.

Global Victoria CEO Gonul Serbest in a screengrab from a video celebrating the success of the now botched hotel quarantine.
Global Victoria CEO Gonul Serbest in a screengrab from a video celebrating the success of the now botched hotel quarantine.

The Herald Sun this month revealed how public servants from Global Victoria took part in a promotional video praising the program, and how Ms Serbest said the program was being treated as "one massive inbound trade mission.''

COVID-19 leaks at two hotels sparked the second wave which has killed more than 400 people and infected more than 15,500 people.

Two other DJPR witnesses to appear alongside Ms Serbest on Thursday are Claire Febey, the executive director of the priority projects unit, and Katrina Currie, the executive director of employment delivery.

 

On Friday, senior managers from some of the hotels involved in the program will give evidence. This includes the two hotels where the quarantine breaches occurred - Rydges on Swanston, and the Stamford Plaza.

The general manager of Rydges, Rosswyn Menezes and the general manager of the Stamford Plaza, Karl Unterfrauner, will appear.

Medical scientists have linked 90 per cent of all of Victoria's second wave back to the Rydges breach, and another nine per cent back to the Stamford.

Also appearing are Ram Bharadwaj, general manager at the Travelodge, Shaun D'Cruz, executive general manager at Crown and Stephen Ferrigno, general manager at Four Points by Sheraton.

Originally published as Bureaucrat that boasted about hotel quarantine to front inquiry



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