The Australian: NSW government investigating allegations against key hotel quarantine figure

The NSW Department of Premier and Cabinet is investigating allegations of bullying made against a senior bureaucrat in charge of hotel quarantine security.

The complaint against Shane Brady, the DPC’s associate director of strategic security, was made in late April, and alleges he inappropriately detained a quarantine security guard.

Mr Brady, previously general manager of security at the Australian Turf Club, was previously charged with assaulting a betting supervisor at Royal Randwick. Those charges were dropped.

In a statement, the DPC said it was “making further inquiries into the complaint emailed to Mr Brady on 30 April in accordance with the Department’s (complaints handling policy)”.

Mr Brady did not respond to repeated requests for comment.

The Australian is not suggesting the allegations are true, only that they have been made.

Mr Brady – according to the complainant who spoke to The Australian on condition of anonymity – allegedly escorted the security guard to an off-limits area of a quarantine hotel before subjecting him to hours of questioning about possible subcontracting, seized his phone and refused to allow him to leave or to notify anyone of his detainment.

Despite the allegations, DPC secretary Tim Reardon on Wednesday singled out Mr Brady for his “exceptional leadership and contribution to NSW’s COVID-19 hotel quarantine program”.

Premier Gladys Berejiklian is pushing to expand the hotel quarantine scheme to include thousands of international students and other migrants from January.

But the program has been plagued by a series of issues in recent months, with one hotel quarantine worker this month testing positive for COVID-19.

The positive, a woman who had worked in two city hotels, ended the state’s 26-day streak of no locally acquired cases.

The Australian last month reported that NSW Police were investigating Unified Security – which had worked in the bungled Victorian quarantine scheme and was now contracted for similar work in Sydney – after it emerged it was linked to ventures owing taxpayers millions of dollars.

Separately, leaked documents obtained by The Australian show the NSW program was beset with thousands of incidents, with 169 security guards sacked and at least four overseas arrivals absconding from facilities.

According to those October 30 meeting minutes, contractors had warned they were unable to reliably extend beyond 820 daily deployments – when 1200 would be needed to expand the scheme.

Mr Brady courted controversy as head of Randwick Racecourse security. In 2008, he was charged by police with allegedly assaulting betting supervisor Ray Sultana.

Those charges were dropped.

Mr Brady and the Australian Turf Club are now the subject of legal action from Mohanned Swaiti, a former employee of the I-SEC security business. Mr Swaiti alleges Mr Brady struck him while he was being detained by other guards at the racecourse.

The Australian is not suggesting these allegations are true, only that they have been made.

Labor treasury spokesman Walt Secord said the government needed to properly screen those overseeing hotel quarantine.

“Those in enforced quarantine in hotels have likened the experience in being in a minimum security prison,” he said. “In that case, those overseeing the quarantine system have a disproportionate power over those in … quarantine.”

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