Confirmed: Quarantine staff can work other jobs

 

Hotel quarantine staff are able to work multiple jobs in Queensland, sparking concerns there could be future waves of COVID-19.

Queensland Health told The Courier-Mail hotel staff or contractors may have multiple jobs or work across multiple sites with the same employer.

Hotel staff or contractors aren't employed or engaged by Queensland Health.

A spokesperson said there were measures in place to reduce any risk associated with these workers.

But Greens MP Michael Berkman said Queensland was at risk of a second wave unless the Government ensured hotel quarantine staff were not working multiple jobs due to low pay or job insecurity.

He said it wasn't the fault of poorly-paid and casualised workers if they sometimes had to work two jobs to get by.

Greens MP Michael Berkman. Picture: Josh Woning
Greens MP Michael Berkman. Picture: Josh Woning

"We should be learning from the mistakes of Victoria and South Australia, and what that tells us about the risks of insecure work in these environments - especially while a vaccine is still in development," he said.

There is no evidence the hotel cleaner, who tested positive to the UK strain of COVID-19 last week in Queensland, worked anywhere else.

Health Minister Yvette D'Ath hit back at Mr Berkman, claiming it was disappointing to see the Greens trying to score "cheap political points" when the focus should be on containing the new UK variant.

"Instead of acting as judge and jury, the Greens should be backing our world leading COVID response," she said.

"Queensland's hotel quarantine has run without incident since the beginning of the pandemic.

"What is new is a new strain that emerged in this country not even a fortnight ago.

Minister for Health and Ambulance Services Yvette D'Ath. Picture: Tara Croser.
Minister for Health and Ambulance Services Yvette D'Ath. Picture: Tara Croser.

"Extra precautions including testing of hotel workers every shift rather than once a week have been adopted as a result."

Queensland Health did not say whether it knew if any hotel quarantine staff were working multiple jobs.

"Hotel staff or contractors are not employed or engaged by Queensland Health, but by the individual businesses," a spokesperson said.

"Hotel staff or contractors may have multiple jobs or work across multiple sites with the same employer - that is often the nature of the industry.

"For many Queenslanders and their families, a restriction on this sort of employment arrangement would have significant financial impacts.

"This is the very first case associated with a worker in our tried and tested hotel quarantine system, and our ability to respond rapidly is a testament to the processes we have in place."

Originally published as Confirmed: Quarantine staff can work other jobs


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