Palaszczuk’s quarantine plan ‘lacks crucial detail’
The Palaszczuk Government proposal to run a regional quarantine centre fails to provide critical details including where any COVID-19 patients would be treated.
It's understood the Morrison Government has requested "significantly more detail" on the Queensland proposal even as Deputy Premier Steven Miles said yesterday the issue was "largely in the federal government's court now".
The Courier-Mail can reveal Queensland's current proposal was presented largely in dot points and lacked crucial detail about how the facility would operate and its impact on the local community.
Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk has been repeatedly calling for the federal government to support a proposal for a 1000-bed facility to be built near to Toowoomba Wellcamp Airport.
Her deputy Mr Miles ramped up the pressure yesterday, claiming the Queensland Government had "put forward a lot of information" and "answered a lot of questions".
"Now it's really up to the federal government to decide whether they will act to keep communities safe," he said.
Prime Minister Scott Morrison has not ruled out regional quarantine hubs but federal officials are urgently seeking more details about how the state would run and manage a facility.
It's understood the Queensland plan was not a formal proposal but mostly a series of dot points that failed to provide or develop critical health, security and safety information.
The plan also failed to explain if COVID-19 patients would be treated locally at Toowoomba Base Hospital or would need to be transported to Brisbane or another facility.
It also does not have information on how medical care and mental health support would be provided, security and cleaning arrangements and overall operational management.
A Federal Government spokesman said only limited details had been provided to date but they were happy to work with the Queensland Government assessing the proposal.
"This a Queensland Government proposal," he said.
"The Commonwealth continues to seek significantly more information on how the Queensland Government plans to establish and operate any potential facility in Toowoomba."
It's understood a separate proposal from the owners of Wellcamp Airport provides details about the proposed quarantine facility.
It comes as the powerful Queensland Vice Chancellor's Committee, which represents all the state's universities, has thrown its weight behind the Toowoomba proposal, saying it could provide a "small scale and graduated" pathway for the safe return of international students.
Committee chairwoman and James Cook University Vice-Chancellor Sandra Harding said returning Australians would remain the priority but a slow return of international students could help the community gain confidence that it could be done safely.
"Our concern is that if we don't open up in that graduated safe way students who would have come here will decide to go elsewhere. And once they do they'll remain in another country or another state potentially for the three to four years of their degree," Prof Harding said.
Originally published as Palaszczuk's quarantine plan 'lacks crucial detail'