Victorian Health Secretary Boss Kym Peake Resigns

Victorian Health Secretary Boss Kym Peake Resigns
Victorian government, Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Kim Peake on Sept. 22, 2020. (COVID-19 Hotel Quarantine Inquiry [CC by 4.0])
Alex Joseph

Victoria’s Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) Secretary Kym Peake has stepped down after the Hotel Quarantine Inquiry interim report found her responsible for communication failures during the initial stages of quarantine in Victoria.

Peake is now the third witness in Victoria’s Hotel Quarantine Inquiry who held a senior position with the government to quit.

Her resignation follows Chris Eccles stepping down from his role as Department of Premier and Cabinet (DPC) secretary last month after phone records requested by the inquiry revealed he gave a false testimony.

Former state Health Minister Jenny Mikakos also resigned after Premier Daniel Andrews told the inquiry she was primarily responsible for the failed program that relied on untrained private guards for its hotel quarantine security.

Peake’s resignation comes ahead of the inquiry’s final report, which is due by Dec. 21. However, the Inquiry delivered an interim report (pdf) on Nov. 6.

The former DHHS boss was questioned at length by inquiry, where it was determined that she failed to brief then-Health Minister Mikakos on reports detailing faults within the quarantine system.

She told the inquiry she profoundly regretted not being able to prevent the second wave of the CCP (Chinese Communist Party) virus commonly known as coronavirus in Victoria.
Since June 1, Victoria has recorded over 18,400 virus cases, and an estimated 750 COVID-19 related deaths. This accounts for more than 90 percent of Australia’s CCP virus casualties.

Professor Euan Wallace will step up from his position as DHHS Deputy Secretary to replace Peake who held the head position for five years.

In a released statement  Premier Daniel Andrews said Peake is resigning to pursue other opportunities.

“We thank Ms Peake for her dedicated service to Victoria and for her tireless commitment throughout the pandemic and her time with DHHS.,” Andrews said.

The Premier also thanked Peake for her contributions in the recent bushfire relief and recovery period and for helping to establish the Mental Health Royal Commission., and her recommendations to the Family Violence Royal Commission.