Feb 16, 2021

Quarantine camp tipped to bring hundreds of jobs

Quarantine camp tipped to bring hundreds of jobs Wagner Corporation chairman John Wagner, pictured with Queensland Treasurer Cameron Dick, as he discusses the quarantine proposal in a media conference.

A proposed quarantine accommodation facility near Toowoomba would create 350-400 jobs in construction and could be completed in 14 weeks, says Wagner Corporation chairman John Wagner.

Mr Wagner met with Queensland Deputy Premier Steven Miles and Treasurer Cameron Dick today.

They were in town to mark progress in the construction of the Toowoomba Wellcamp Trade Distribution Centre at Toowoomba Wellcamp Airport.

Wagner Corporation proposes to adopt the COVID accommodation camp model used successfully at the Howard Springs facility in the Northern Territory.

“What we have proposed to the State Government – and to the Federal Government through the State – is that we will build it, maintain it and do the food and beverage,” Mr Wagner said.

“Queensland Health will be involved in how the health side of things works. Every room will have its own air-conditioner system. There will be no corridors for airborne particles to be transmitted.”

Mr Wagner said his company could have the first 400-500 rooms up in six weeks within signing an agreement with the government and have the total complex finished in 12 to 14 weeks.

The facility near Wellcamp Airport would accommodate 1000 repatriated travellers and 300 staff, all of whom would be required to be vaccinated against COVID-19 to reduce any chance of community transmission.

Mr Wagner said the proposal was still in feasibility stage, with many details still to be ironed out and much community consultation still to be done.

Ball in Federal Govt court says Miles

Mr Miles said two major advantages in having a purpose-built facility as Mr Wagner proposed was that the space could be properly ventilated and there was the ability to have a stable full-time workforce who could stay on site.

“The ball is largely in the Federal Government’s court now,” he said.

“We have put forward a lot of information, answered a lot of questions and now it’s really up to the Federal Government to decide if they will act to keep communities safe.”

It comes as Victoria goes through day four of a lockdown sparked by a cluster of cases stemming from a quarantine hotel.

Premier Daniel Andrews has been pushing for changes to the hotel quarantine system there and has confirmed that senior officials are looking into the construction of a purpose-built quarantine centre, naming Avalon and Melbourne airports as potential sites.