Wagner Corporation heads have briefed local councillors on how a proposed Toowoomba Wellcamp Airport quarantine facility would operate.
Toowoomba Region Mayor Paul Antonio said while proposed details were to be finalised by Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk this week, before being presented to the Prime Minister, the briefing was most reassuring.
Toowoomba and Gladstone were last week confirmed as potential hubs for returning travellers in the COVID-19 quarantine options Ms Palaszczuk will lay on the table.
“While this is a matter for the Queensland and federal governments to approve and regulate, I have great confidence in the Wagners’ capacity to deliver a secure and comfortable facility for returning overseas travellers (an initial 1000 room accommodation facility, with individual air conditioners, for returning travellers with rooms for 300 staff),” Cr Antonio said.
“I expect to speak with the Premier’s officials this week and I will be seeking reassurances from the state government around the protocols they plan to enforce if this site is ultimately selected for a quarantine facility.”
Wagner Corporation director Denis Wagner and chairman John Wagner conducted the briefing and site inspection on Monday.
Cr Antonio said the briefing made it very clear that returning travellers would not enter the Wellcamp terminal building nor have contact with airport staff.
They would be transported by buses straight from the tarmac to the quarantine facility where all immigration and health checks would be performed.
“People in quarantine will not be allowed to leave their room at the secure facility during their period of isolation and staff will not interact with them during this time,” he said.
“Staff will live and be catered for at the site for the duration of their shifts, which further reduces contact with the community. Health checks will be conducted at the site.”
Cr Antonio said he was keen to hear about possible plans for medical staff or facilities being housed at the quarantine facility.
“Hopefully these details will be contained in the Premier’s final proposal,” Cr Antonio said.
“I will also raise the prospect of Toowoomba being considered as an early vaccination centre. I think this will offer a greater level of confidence for our residents. While I understand some people will have reservations, I see this quarantine proposal as a safer option than transporting travellers to multiple hotels in capital city CBDs.”
Cr Antonio said further updates would expand on the number and variety of jobs that would be generated by such a facility.