Wagner's step up in COVID fight

Toowoomba Wellcamp Airport may quarantine international travellers

EXCLUSIVE
Coronavirus
A secure quarantine hub could be established at Wellcamp Airport, outside of Toowoomba.

A secure quarantine hub could be established at Wellcamp Airport, outside of Toowoomba.

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A secure hub could be established at Toowoomba's Wellcamp Airport to house international arrivals during their 14-day mandatory quarantine period.

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A SECURE hub could be established at Toowoomba's Wellcamp Airport to house international arrivals during their 14-day mandatory quarantine period.

Wellcamp Airport general manager John Wagner confirmed they had been in contact with the state government to discuss a 'better solution' to what is currently in place with quarantine hotels in Brisbane.

Mr Wagner said while discussions were in their infancy, Wellcamp had the capacity to both operate as an international airport and house both travellers and staff on-site.

"The reality is we can actually take people at Wellcamp and put them in quarantine accommodation without having any interaction with the general public, without going to our terminal, and without going on any public roads," Mr Wagner said.

"So we think we should look at it; it would create a lot of jobs for Toowoomba and be far more secure for Queensland than what is currently out there."

Mr Wagner said new structures would be built to accommodate guests and staff in the quarantine zone.

"All staff associated with it would work and live on-site, that way the chances of it getting into the community is just about zero."

Mr Wagner revealed the Wellcamp proposal to Queensland Country Life after Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk today named Toowoomba and Gladstone as potential regional quarantine sites.

She said a formal proposal would be put to the federal government, however details as to exactly where the travellers would be housed were scant.

Toowoomba Regional Council Mayor Paul Antonio said he had not been contacted by either the state or federal government ahead of today's announcement.

"We would certainly as a community, we would like to see more detail of a proposition as to what they're planning on doing," Cr Antonio said.

"We haven't been consulted by either level of government, federal or state haven't contacted council to my knowledge so we look forward to finding out what their plans were."

Business and community advocacy group Toowoomba and Surat Basin Enterprise also said they had not been provided with details.

TSBE CEO Ali Davenport said she was waiting to hear details of the proposal before taking a stance on the matter.

Gladstone Regional Council has been vocal in their concerns after Ms Palaszczuk first mentioned mine camps could be used to quarantine arrivals in a bid to spread the risk to Brisbane's CBD.

Workforce accommodation Homeground Villages, at Calliope, which has the capacity to house 2000 people has been identified as a possible quarantine hub and was discussed at today's national cabinet meeting.

Gladstone Mayor Matt Burnett said council had written to the Prime Minister and Queensland Premier on January 19 raising community concerns.

They asked whether vital industries and communities at Gladstone, Boyne Island, Tannum Sands and Calliope would be locked down if the virus escaped from Homeground as happened when it escaped hotel quarantine in Brisbane.

They also queried where the specialist workforce who would use Homebush as accommodation in the Gladstone region would be housed and how long the centre may remain open.

The impact on health services in the region and the capacity for medical treatment to be provided to infected travellers while maintaining community healthcare was also raised.

The impacts on the local real estate market and tourism industries were also listed as concerns.

Cr Burnett said he had requested a copy of the Queensland government's proposal be provided to council.

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