NSW hits QLD with $30m hotel quarantine bill
Queensland will tear-up a $30 million hotel quarantine bill issued by New South Wales unless the Federal Government approves its plan to built a national quarantine facility at Toowoomba.
The NSW Government has given Queensland until March 19 to pay $30.11m for quarantining 7112 of its residents in hotels between March and September.
An "outraged" Deputy Premier Steven Miles claimed Prime Minister Scott Morrison "has told New South Wales it can bill Queensland for its hotel quarantine".
"We will not be paying that bill, not while the Commonwealth refuses to endorse our plan for a national quarantine centre," Mr Miles told parliament.
"Scott Morrison is like a school bully telling us we have to give our lunch money to New South Wales."
It is understood the Federal Government has no involvement in the cost arrangements between the two states.
Mr Miles said the state government was "stepping up" to develop a national quarantine centre with the Wagners at Wellcamp Airport, which could accommodate up to 1000 Australians returning from overseas.
"Again we see the states, in particular Queensland, stepping up where the Commonwealth has failed, yet the Commonwealth continues to hold New South Wales up as some kind of supposed gold standard," he said.
However, a Federal Government spokesman said they had still received no formal proposal from Queensland about how a national quarantine centre would work.
"The Commonwealth continues to seek more information on how the Queensland Government plans to operate any potential facility in Toowoomba," he said.
The spokesman said Mr Miles' officials had committed to providing a formal proposal "a few days ago".
"We are happy to work with the Queensland Government on assessing their proposal, but we require more information," he said.
"A number of questions have been asked of the Queensland Government regarding their health workforce, airport regulations, engagement with airlines and how this proposal would impact the Toowoomba community. We await their answers."
Mr Miles said Mr Morrison had previously produced "crocodile tears" over New South Wales residents' inability to attend funerals or come to Queensland hospitals despite NSW "owing us $20 million for hospital treatments already".
Originally published as 'Outrage': NSW hits QLD with $30m hotel quarantine bill