POTENTIAL QUARANTINE HUB: Virgin planes stored at Wellcamp Airport as the coronavirus pandemic grounds aircraft fleets, Thursday, December 3, 2020. Picture: Kevin Farmer
POTENTIAL QUARANTINE HUB: Virgin planes stored at Wellcamp Airport as the coronavirus pandemic grounds aircraft fleets, Thursday, December 3, 2020. Picture: Kevin Farmer

Council responds to possible Toowoomba quarantine near Dalby

Western Downs Regional Council has confirmed they have not been contacted by Toowoomba Regional Council or the State Government about a possible quarantine hub for returned overseas travellers less than an hour away from Dalby.

Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk submitted her government’s proposal for a regional quarantine facility to Prime Minister Scott Morrison on February 2 at either Toowoomba’s Wellcamp Airport or Gladstone.

Located less than an hour east of Dalby, the Wagner family’s proposal was to create a 1000 room demountable accommodation facility at their airport, with 300 separate rooms for staff.

International flights would fly in to Wellcamp Airport under the proposal, and passengers would disembark onto buses to be taken direct to the accommodation facility.

There would be a testing facility, and all staff would work and stay on site.

TRC Mayor Paul Antonio and Groom MP Garth Hamilton after talking to media about the Wagners plan for a COVID quarantine hub next to the Wellcamp Airport, Monday, January 25, 2021. Picture: Kevin Farmer
TRC Mayor Paul Antonio and Groom MP Garth Hamilton after talking to media about the Wagners plan for a COVID quarantine hub next to the Wellcamp Airport, Monday, January 25, 2021. Picture: Kevin Farmer

Western Downs Regional Council mayor Paul McVeigh said a possible quarantine facility in Toowoomba was a matter for their council and the Queensland Government, vehemently rejecting a potential zone for returned travellers in the Western Downs.

“The Western Downs is not an appropriate place for such facility due to several factors,” he said.

“Most particularly the lack of adequate medical facilities and no international airport located in the region.”

Cr McVeigh said council would continue to act on the advice provided by the Queensland and Australian Governments, as has been the case throughout the pandemic.

A spokeswoman for the Premier’s office said consideration of a regional quarantine facility was consistent with a recommendation of the Halton Review – a national review of hotel quarantine – which said the Commonwealth should consider establishing a national facility for quarantine.

The review also recommended the development of new models of quarantine for consideration by national cabinet.

“As such, the Premier has recently sent further correspondence to the Prime Minister on the matter,” the spokeswoman said.

“No decisions have been made.”

The Premier first publicly spoke of the option of establishing quarantine hubs at Gladstone and Toowoomba on January 22.

Gladstone Regional Council Mayor Matt Burnett has since written to the Premier, saying his community was against the idea.

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