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Dan Andrews Wasted $172 Million on Protective Gear That Couldn’t Be Used

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The magnitude of Dan Andrews’ blunder during the pandemic has been exposed in a damning report that found an extraordinary waste of taxpayers’ money.

While the man named ‘Chairman Dan’ locked up Melbourne, his cronies wasted just under $200 million on dodgy face masks while spending $27 on hand sanitizer.

Under a litany of funding errors found in a Victorian Auditor General’s report filed in the state parliament on Wednesday, Mr Andrews’ health and employment department “cannot be sure that there is no material fraud or corruption.” occurred’.

Victorian Prime Minister Daniel Andrews has been described by insiders as a ‘blunderball’ for his handling of the Covid-19 pandemic

Despite brutal lockdowns, Victoria was unable to contain the spread of Delta

Despite brutal lockdowns, Victoria was unable to contain the spread of Delta

The body of an elderly resident is removed from the Epping Gardens retirement home outside Melbourne last year after Covid-19 broke loose from the hotel's quarantine

The body of an elderly resident is removed from the Epping Gardens retirement home outside Melbourne last year after Covid-19 broke loose from the hotel’s quarantine

Both wards had already been condemned by an independent watchdog for their handling of Victoria’s failed hotel quarantine scheme, which killed more than 800 elderly Victorians last year and no one took responsibility.

The latest audit looked at how departments managed their spending in response to Covid-19, to reflect on how they could improve their preparedness for future crises.

Auditor General Andrew Greaves found that the Andrews government spent $4.4 billion to respond to the pandemic as of June last year.

By then, only 20 people had died from the virus.

Those numbers would skyrocket in the coming months, with Victoria recording 25 deaths on Thursday on the outbreak’s deadliest day, and adding 1,923 new cases as well.

Most departments had gaps in the way they used their critical incident process for COVID-19 procurement, such as poor documentation and insufficient consideration of conflicts of interest.

Victoria’s Health Department, headed by Secretary of State Jenny Mikakos at the time of the outbreak, wasted as much as $172 million on protective equipment that was not fit for purpose, the audit found.

Ms Mikakos was due to resign last September after Mr Andrews blamed her for his disastrous hotel quarantine efforts.

“Not all departments managed their spending effectively, which in some cases led to waste.” Mr Greaves concluded.

Despite Covid-19 likely reaching our shores months in advance, Mr Andrews was still confused, with his bean counters underestimating the cost of the pandemic response to taxpayers by a sensational $800 million.

When Covid hit, a panicked Justice Department paid up to $27 a bottle for hand sanitizer, while other departments bought it for just over $3.

Usual lawsuits designed to keep officials on the straight and narrow have been thrown out the window.

In a scathing reflection of a taxpayer’s fears materializing, Mr Andrews’ jobs department – still led today by Secretary of State Martin Pakula – and the health department appeared to have been more than a little loose with the funds available.

The audit found that a senior executive staff member was hired for a year by the health department with a salary of $594,595 after using a single quote rather than a traditional hiring process.

Chief Health Officer Professor Brett Sutton's health department came under fire for the way taxpayers spent early in the outbreak

Chief Health Officer Professor Brett Sutton’s health department came under fire for the way taxpayers spent early in the outbreak

Daniel Andrews government wasted millions on protective equipment that was not fit for purpose

Daniel Andrews government wasted millions on protective equipment that was not fit for purpose

Victorian Prime Minister Daniel Andrews and former Health Minister Jenny Mikakos last September.  She would resign shortly afterwards

Victorian Prime Minister Daniel Andrews and former Health Minister Jenny Mikakos last September. She would resign shortly afterwards

Jobs Minister Martin Pakula remains at the helm of several portfolios for Prime Minister Daniel Andrews

Jobs Minister Martin Pakula remains at the helm of several portfolios for Prime Minister Daniel Andrews

A resident of Epping Gardens Aged Care Facility is taken away in an ambulance last year after Covid-19 infiltrated retirement homes

A resident of Epping Gardens Aged Care Facility is taken away in an ambulance last year after Covid-19 infiltrated retirement homes

DAN ANDREWS’ COVID-19 ‘ONE QUOTE’ CASH BONANZA

Engaging a professional service company to provide executive team coaching to the Jobs department

Instructing a professional services firm to review the Job’s Department corporate structure

Create a website to promote government initiatives on behalf of the Jobs Department

Engaging Creative Service Companies in Developing Entertainment to Promote Community Well-Being for the Ministry of Prime Minister and Cabinet

Buy online platforms to host live performances online

Mr. Andrews’ cronies later tried to justify the salary, despite it exceeding the job description by more than $250,000 and the relevant pay bracket by $230,000.

The Jobs division purchased a consultancy to provide “executive coaching and wellness support” to staff affected by the Covid-19 response for a total cost of up to $100,000.

“(It) did not approach other providers for quotes and did not contract with the company until several months after it began providing services,” the audit said.

In August last year, it hired a professional services firm to similarly provide a call center for $4.5 million.

The Prime Minister’s own department was among those criticized for using a single quote for some purchases that, while related to Covid-19, “were not as time-sensitive as to justify avoiding a standard, competitive process.” discovered the audit.

Mr Greaves concluded that “most departments” had gaps in how they used their critical incident process for Covid-19 procurement, such as “poor documentation and insufficient consideration of conflicts of interest”.

“Without strong processes, departments cannot be sure that material fraud or corruption has not occurred,” he says.

The audit also revealed troubling issues with the way grants had been distributed in the early months of the pandemic.

Covid-19 escaped hotel quarantine after private security personnel were deployed instead of police or soldiers.  An investigation was launched to find out who in Prime Minister Daniel Andrews' government made that decision.  It got no answer

Covid-19 escaped hotel quarantine after private security personnel were deployed instead of police or soldiers. An investigation was launched to find out who in Prime Minister Daniel Andrews’ government made that decision. It got no answer

Prime Minister Daniel Andrews last year when he believed incarcerating Victorians was the only way to save lives.  More have died under his watch than in any other state in Australia

Prime Minister Daniel Andrews last year when he believed incarcerating Victorians was the only way to save lives. More have died under his watch than in any other state in Australia

Mr Andrews (center) was once friends with Adem Somyurek, who was accused of stacking branches while a Labor minister

Mr Andrews (center) was once friends with Adem Somyurek, who was accused of stacking branches while a Labor minister

For the first two rounds of the Business Support Fund, the Jobs department couldn’t even verify the eligibility of applicants.

Millions of dollars in grants are believed to have gone to ineligible Victorians, including 105 grants to companies that stated on their application form that they had zero employees.

In October last year, the Jobs Department found that it overpaid more than 1,000 ineligible companies by $13.85 million as a result of a “system error.”

Only four of the eight departments audited were found to have effectively managed their Covid-19 grant programs.

While both Andrews’ then Health Secretary and Health and Cabinet Minister Chris Eccles have since resigned, Jobs Secretary Martin Pakula remains firmly rooted.

A source with links to the Andrews administration told the Daily Mail Australia that the prime minister would prefer the report to be swept under the rug “just like the hotel quarantine findings”.

“He struck like Blunderball,” he said.

The book’s release comes on the heels of the launch of an Independent Broad-based Anti-corruption Commission investigation into alleged ‘branch stacking’ within Mr Andrews’ government.

One of its ministers has already resigned in that investigation and more may follow if it flares up again next week.

The audit, which cost just over $1.3 million on its own, made more than a dozen recommendations to Andrews’ government, which has been approached by Daily Mail Australia for comment.

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