Qld govt backs quarantine facility

Laine Clark |

Steven Miles says he wishes Qld won’t need its new quarantine facility, but he expects that it will.
Steven Miles says he wishes Qld won’t need its new quarantine facility, but he expects that it will.

Border restrictions may be easing but the Queensland government is confident its regional quarantine facility can still be used for “an array of options”.

The finishing touches are being put on the centre at Wellcamp, west of Brisbane, which is set to open in the “coming weeks”.

The 500-bed opening stage is almost complete with the administration and reception set to be finished while the rest of the 1000-bed centre is expected to be unveiled by April.

The federal government is building another 1000-bed quarantine camp in Pinkenba, near Brisbane airport, like similar centres in Melbourne and Perth.

However, the Queensland Opposition has questioned the value of the Wellcamp facility outside Toowoomba with quarantine requirements easing.

Domestic travellers have been able to enter from 1am on Saturday without showing proof of a negative COVID-19 test.

Fully jabbed international arrivals won’t need to quarantine once the state hits 90 per cent vaccination rate, a target set to be reached in coming days.

But Deputy Premier Steven Miles said there would still be a need for the quarantine facility.

“Clearly over time the usage of a facility like that is going to change as we have met our vaccination targets,” he said.

“But there will continue to be a need for quarantine for some arrivals as well as other cohorts.

“Throughout the last two years there have been a wide variety of times where we have needed suitable, appropriate, custom-built accommodation.

“I wish we didn’t need it but I expect that we will. We are just working through which cohorts would be best to utilise that facility.”

Chief health officer John Gerrard said the Wellcamp facility was as important as ever.

“There are quite an array of options that facility will enable us to do,” he said.

“If I am sick and I have a household member who has some immune disorder and I don’t want to (home quarantine) that (Wellcamp) is a good place to put them.

“Maybe if I am positive and at a hotel but not very sick then you can put that person there.

“It is fantastic to have that resource available. The facility is so beautifully designed that it can cater for different types of patients and is very safe from an infection control point of view.”

Construction firm Wagners has built the quarantine facility on its land at Wellcamp.

The arrangement between the state government and Wagners is commercial-in-confidence.

But Wagners have leased it to the Queensland government for at least one year.