Security company at the centre of Melbourne’s disastrous hotel quarantine leak SUES Victoria for $11million as it stands down 530 guards after being dumped from NSW program
- Security company at centre of Melbourne’s hotel quarantine saga is suing state
- Unified Security taking legal action against Vic Government over unpaid work
- Company stood down 530 security guards in response to losing NSW contract
- Unified oversaw quarantine debacle that saw state locked down and cases rise
The security company at the centre of the Melbourne hotel quarantine leak that started an outbreak that killed 800 people is suing the Victorian Government.
Unified Security is taking legal action to demand about $11 million in unpaid invoices for its work on the disastrous scheme.
The Sydney company also stood down 530 guards working in NSW quarantine hotels after being told its services were no longer required.
NSW Civil and Administrative Tribunal this week heard it was attempting to overturn a NSW Police decision to strip their master security license, the Daily Telegraph reported.
Unified Security oversaw security at 13 Melbourne quarantine hotels, including the Rydges on Swanston where the biggest coronavirus leak originated
Unified Security oversaw security at 13 Melbourne quarantine hotels, including the Rydges on Swanston where the biggest coronavirus leak originated.
Hotel and security staff caught the deadly virus from infected travellers and spread it among themselves, and then to family and friends.
The NSW Police Security Licensing and Enforcement Directorate last month revoked Unified’s license due to ‘undeclared changes in ownership’ after it was transferred to the sister of majority shareholder David Millward.
Mr Millward in November denied the quarantine leak was his company’s fault, rather it was lax government standards that left all staff vulnerable.
‘The clear evidence from the hotel quarantine inquiry is that the primary cause of the outbreak was the appalling lack of infection-control protocols in the hotels and the confused and ineffective governance structure that meant no one knew who was in charge,’ he said.
The company’s chief executive, Matthew Conway, told NCAT the company wouldn’t survive three weeks if the company lost its license.
But the board instead noted Unified’s revenue growth since acquiring the hotel quarantine contract.
The NSW Police Security Licensing and Enforcement Directorate last month revoked Unified’s license due to ‘undeclared changes in ownership’ after it was transferred to the sister of majority shareholder David Millward (left), Sandy Pratt (right)
Unified Security is taking legal action to demand about $11 million in unpaid invoices for its work on the disastrous Victorian hotel quarantine scheme
The tribunal heard the company’s revenue skyrocketed from $16 million in 2018-19 to $68 million last year since providing security for the NSW and Victorian quarantine systems.
Unified’s earnings exceeded $10million in 2019-20 and has accrued $6.6million in the first nine months of the current financial year.
It also provided loans of between $5 million and $15 million to USG Holdings, its parent company, paying a $5 million dividend.
NCAT placed an interim freeze on the removal of Unified’s license.
The tribunal was told Millward Investments owned 100 per cent of USG Holdings, but the sole shareholder was not David Millward.
Rather his sister Sandy Pratt, who describes herself as working in ‘executive support’ for Unified.
Mr Conway said he was contacted by NSW Government’s Public Works Advisory on April 20 and told the company was no longer required.
He gave 530 guards their notice the next day that they were stood down.
Unified’s lawyer Mark Robinson asked his client if it wanted to sue the Victorian Government over the unpaid invoices, where he confirmed it was already taking measures.
‘We are more than contemplating,’ Mr Conway said. ‘We are prepared and ready to file.’
The Public Works Advisory said it was no longer using Unified because it was using existing companies ACES, ISEC and Reddawn to fill the hotel quarantine quota.