Western Australia will operate a proposed 1,000 bed quarantine facility in the state, with half of those beds expected to be ready in seven months.
The purpose-built quarantine and emergency response centre will be used to house international arrivals into the state, and will be the fourth of its kind.
The federal government will fund the construction of the building, with the WA government to run the facility and meet operational costs during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Federal finance minister Simon Birmingham said that, after reaching the agreement on Wednesday, the governments would finalise a design for the centre and commence construction.
“This agreement paves the way for a purpose-built quarantine and emergency response facility to be built in Western Australia. It will increase our ability to respond to future emergencies or disasters, including the continued management of the COVID-19 pandemic into next year,” he said.
“The project will also create jobs in the state, support economic recovery and provide an enduring asset to enhance the state’s medium and long-term capability to respond to future natural disasters or future health crises in the years to come.”
WA Premier Mark McGowan has welcomed the deal, noting that WA has had to introduce a range of measures, including hotel quarantine, to keep COVID-19 out of the state over the past year and a half.
“WA has always stood ready to support the commonwealth to deliver on its proposal for a dedicated quarantine facility to ensure more Australians can safely return to our shores following the devastating impacts of the global COVID-19 pandemic,” he said.
“We look forward to this commonwealth facility progressing as quickly as possible, to help keep WA safe.”
McGowan and Birmingham said the governments planned for the first 500 beds to be ready by the end of March 2022.
Deals for similar facilities have been reached in the Northern Territory, Victoria, and Queensland.