The Queensland government has given the federal government the green light to move forward with the construction of its proposed quarantine facility at Pinkenba.
Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk signed a memorandum of understanding with the commonwealth on Friday.
Deputy Premier Steven Miles said that once the facility has been built, the Queensland government would provide it with services.
“The Queensland government continues to work collaboratively with the Commonwealth to further the Federal Government’s proposal for a quarantine facility at the Damascus Barracks,” he said on Monday.
“Following countless breaches from the nation’s hotel quarantine system it’s clear there is an urgent need for more fit-for-purpose quarantine facilities throughout Australia. With NSW and Victoria in lockdown, we cannot afford more leaks from hotel quarantine.”
The proposed facility, which would be located on the 30-hectare Damascus Barracks in Pinkenba, would house 1000 beds. Located near Brisbane Airport, the facility would be constructed by mid-2022.
Miles noted that the site was selected by the commonwealth Department of Finance based on its size, its proximity to an international airport and hospitals, and because it is commonwealth-owned. He said the state government was also in support of a regional quarantine facility at Wellcamp airport, near Toowoomba, in order to reduce the use of hotel quarantine.
“Until all Australians have been offered a vaccination, quarantine facilities will remain Australia’s frontline in preventing deadly new strains of COVID-19 from entering our community,” Miles said.
The state government’s proposed Wellcamp facility has been rejected by the federal government.
Last month federal finance minister Simon Birmingham told ABC Radio Brisbane that the Wellcamp facility didn’t meet the ‘key criteria’ that the federal government wanted to meet, including being proximate to an international airport and health facilities.
“If Queensland chose to go ahead and build a facility there for their own purposes, that would be a matter for Queensland, and they would have to work through that,” he said.
Another proposed quarantine facility, based in Melbourne’s northern suburb of Mickleham, has recently begun construction. The site is expected to open later this year.