Toowoomba and Gladstone have been confirmed as potential hubs for returning travellers in the COVID-19 quarantine options Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk will lay on the table.
Ms Palaszczuk raised the issue of turning regional work camps to the quarantine task at National Cabinet today and said details would be going formally to Prime Minister Scott Morrison.
“You have to remember there are a lot of Australians that are currently stranded overseas, a lot of families want their loved ones home, and we’ve got to put options on the table,” she told a press conference this afternoon.
“We’ve seen what has happened with the British strain of COVID. We are really concerned about that and the impact it can have on large populations.”
She said the relevant international flights through Rockhampton and Toowoomba would have to be approved by the Federal Government.
“They’re looking at all of these options as well. Our chief health officer has gone through a lot of those details. So look, we’ll put the proposal forward you know, it’s good to have ideas,” she said.
Speaking in Gladstone on Thursday, Mr Morrison was asked about the potential for quarantining those returning from overseas at the Homeground workers camp at Calliope.
He said there were some clear concerns in Gladstone about the proposal for ‘quite sensible reasons’ including the large numbers of people expected to come to the region in 2021 for industrial maintenance works.
“I think there are also concerns that people up here don’t want to see Brisbane’s issues dumped on those in the north,” he said.
Gladstone Regional Council wrote to the Prime Minister and Queensland Premier after the issue was raised as an urgent business item at the general council meeting this week.
Among its questions were whether the city of Gladstone, Boyne Island, Tannum Sands and Calliope including significant local industries would be shut down as Brisbane was recently should the virus escape.
It expressed concern about the ability to accommodate the large number of workers required for local plant maintenance shutdowns if Homeground was used as a quarantine facility.
The council also asked what support would be provided to Gladstone region if National Cabinet and/or the Queensland Government decided to proceed with the Homeground quarantine facility.
Toowoomba Mayor Paul Antonio said today he would wait to receive more details of the quarantine proposal from the State Government before commenting publicly.