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New quarantine facility to be built in Queensland

Published: (Updated: ) in Australian News by .

Construction is underway for a 1000-bed quarantine facility in Toowoomba.

Construction is underway for a 1000-bed quarantine facility in Toowoomba in southern Queensland.

Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk announced the news at this morning's COVID-19 press conference.

"If we want to open Australia up, if we want to open to our state up, regional quarantine facilities are the answer," she said.

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Resident of Block D wearing a santa hat at Howard Springs Quarantine Facility in Darwin Photo: Louise Radcliffe-Smith 23rd December 2020

"As soon as a regional quarantine facility is built, we are ready to put it to use."

The new regional quarantine facility in Toowoomba will be Australia's second purpose-built hub away from capital cities.

It follows the Howard Springs quarantine centre in the Northern Territory.

Ms Palaszczuk said the Commonwealth and the Queensland Government had agreed to build the facility after months of discussions.

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DARWIN, AUSTRALIA - MAY 15: Passengers from flight QF112 are transported to the Howard Springs Quarantine Facility on May 15, 2021 in Darwin, Australia. The arrival from New Delhi is the first repatriation flight for Australians who have been stranded in India following the lifting of the federal government's ban on flight arrivals from India as the country continues to battle a massive COVID-19 outbreak. Passengers on the flight will do mandatory quarantine at the Howard Springs facility for 14

"I have been calling for this since January," Ms Palaszczuk said.

"It could have been built by now."

The facility will provide vital protection from the Delta variant, she said.

"We need to make sure that we have good quarantine, (a) regional facility away from our densely populated cities that can spread the virus rapidly as we have seen what has happened, unfortunately, in NSW and, of course, in Victoria," Ms Palaszczuk said.

Deputy Premier Steven Miles said 500 beds are expected to be available by the end of the year, growing to 1000 in the first quarter of next year.

Businessman John Wagner, who owns the land, says the facility will bring thousands of jobs for those living in Toowoomba and surrounding regional areas.

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Ms Palaszczuk said between 400 and 450 jobs would be created during the construction of the facility.

The premier insisted the new facility will be a drastic improvement from Australia's current system that uses hotels for returning travellers.

"This is going to be better than Howard Springs," she said.

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Block D at the Howard Springs Quarantine Facility in the Northern Territory.

Drawing on her "personal experience" of going into 14-day hotel quarantine after returning from the Tokyo Olympics, Ms Palaszczuk said Queensland's purpose-built centre was "a no-brainer".

"(In hotel quarantine) across from you are people, beside you are people, there are people delivering things, you don't have fresh air.

"These are the model facilities the Commonwealth should have built across the country."

Premier wants to see new modelling

Ms Palaszczuk is calling on Prime Minister Scott Morrison to show state and territory leaders new modelling about opening up the country before National Cabinet gathers.

Ms Palaszczuk says the information was needed ahead of Friday's meetomg.

"You can't expect National Cabinet to make a serious decision without seeing the modelling," she said.

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Annastacia Palaszczuk

"I really do need to see that modelling as quickly as possible… it cannot be dumped on us in a cabinet meeting.

"At the moment all I have is a blank page, nothing."

Ms Palaszczuk says she needs to consult with Queensland's Chief Health Officer Jeannette Young and senior leaders before making any decisions.

The regional quarantine facility announcement comes as Queensland recorded zero locally acquired cases of COVID-19 and two overseas acquired cases in hotel quarantine.

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There were 12733 tests conducted yesterday and 21,251 vaccines were administered yesterday.

Health Minister Yvette D'Ath said Queensland Health has detected COVID-19 in the sewage in Palm Island.

"This could be someone who is shedding who has had the virus previously but we're not aware of anyone on the island who is a former positive case," she said.

Source: 9News https://www.9news.com.au/national/coronavirus-queensland-updates-cases-toowoomba-quarantine-facility-august-26/f4dafabf-2690-404f-b450-d61f3a2ccde1

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