Victorian bureaucrats resorted to cheating to promote socialism: SlugGate

Victorian bureaucrats resorted to cheating to promote socialism: SlugGate. By Robert Gottliebsen.

Around 2013, the then federal regional development and Local Government Minister Anthony Albanese (now Opposition Leader) and the then Victorian Health Minister Daniel Andrews (now Premier) plus 13 Victorian councils set up a company called Community Chef to compete with private food manufacturers to provide home and hospital meals.

Neither Albanese nor Andrews realised back then that rarely do state-owned businesses perform well when competing fairly with well managed private sector operators.

Not surprisingly both the Victorian and Australian governments have had to pour large sums into the Community Chef business to cover the losses. Conversely Community Chef’s rival, I Cook Foods, was prospering.

Cheating bureaucrats:

Suddenly in 2019 the Victorian Department of Health received a report that there might have been traces of listeria in sandwiches provided by I Cook Foods to a hospital.

Later checking discovered that the report was a complete fabrication and there was no listeria in sandwiches provided by I Cook Foods and indeed it’s doubtful that any patient was infected.

The local council sent in an inspector and apparently found a slug in the I Cook Foods’ plant. There is considerable doubt as to how that slug got there — it certainly couldn’t have crawled in.

The Victorian Department of Health speedily shut the plant down. Community Chef got tipped off and notified I Cook customers that the plant was being closed by the Department of Heath. Most of the I Cook business went to Community Chef.

Ian Cook is suing the Victorian government and its Department of Health for $50m for wrongful plant closure. …

To have so many high profile people rightly or wrongly believing the Victorian government and its public servants did something wrong highlights the importance of the case.

The I Cook case will be heard in the Supreme court around March-April.

The bureaucrats are always looking for ways to grow their empire and hire more bureaucrats.

This episode also shows how the bureaucracy is now so powerful that displeasing it can be dangerous.