Victorian class action lodged against State Government for lost jobs due to hotel quarantine failures
The Victorian Government is facing legal action from workers who lost their jobs during the second round of coronavirus restrictions in the state.
- The civil suit argues the State Government is liable for damages because of its handling of the hotel quarantine system
- Lawyer Tony Carbone said the plaintiffs were not blaming the Government for any job losses before the second lockdown
- A separate legal action was filed in Supreme Court on Monday, against Victoria’s Deputy Public Health Commander, for the city’s curfew to be declared “unlawful and invalid”
Lawyer Tony Carbone, who is representing plaintiffs including a 21-year-old worker made redundant from his roadside assistance job, said they were suing for people’s loss of income during stage 3 and 4 restrictions.
“But for the State Government’s inept handling of the hotel quarantine, we wouldn’t have had the second round of lockdowns and people wouldn’t have lost their jobs,” he said.
“What I want to make clear is this — we’re not blaming the Government for any job losses prior to the second round of lockdowns.
“We’re saying that this claim picks up anyone that has lost their job because of the second round of lockdowns.”
The civil suit argues that the State Government is liable for damages because of its handling of the hotel quarantine system.
Mr Carbone said there was no need to wait until the independent inquiry into the hotel quarantine system had concluded.
“There’s enough information out there to show that this second round of lockdowns is due to the incompetent handling — and really, the negligence — of the Government appointing the security companies to look after returned travellers,” he said.
“It’s all out there.”
Mr Carbone said the second lockdown had devastated many employers, some of whom would not reopen.
“Most employers that I spoke to prior to the second round of lockdowns were very optimistic about getting back to 60 per cent, 70 per cent or 80 per cent of capacity by the end of the year,” he said.
“I’ve spoken to a lot of these people in recent times and they’ve been very, very disheartened.”
A spokesperson for the Victorian Government said: “As this matter is before the courts, it’d be inappropriate to comment any further.”
Opposition backs separate legal action against curfew
A separate legal action has been launched by a cafe owner who claims her business in Capel Sound, on the Mornington Peninsula, has been put under “significant pressure” due to Melbourne’s stage 4 restrictions.
Michelle Loielo, 41, who has flagged her intention to run for Liberal Party preselection at the next state election, said her business’s turnover had dropped from $20,000 a week to $400.
On Monday, lawyers for Ms Loielo filed a motion in the Supreme Court against Michelle Giles, who is Victoria’s Deputy Public Health Commander, for the city’s curfew to be declared “unlawful and invalid”.
They claim that the curfew is not “reasonably proportionate” and that public health officials behind the lockdown failed to take into account the “social and psychological impact” of the measure and their client’s human rights.
Ms Loielo said she was not seeking any damages or compensation.
“The ultimate goal is to be able to stop at BP on the way home and grab my milk and bread as I used to,” Ms Loielo said.
Instructing solicitor Omar El-Hissi, who is acting pro bono, said he was put in touch with Ms Loielo through lead counsel on the matter Marcus Clarke QC.
Opposition Leader Michael O’Brien said the Coalition backed the action and believed it had a good chance of success.
“There is every chance Daniel Andrews has acted illegally in locking down 5 million Victorians and that’s why it’s so important that this case go to court and be tested,” Mr O’Brien said.