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Qld govt backs its new quarantine facility

Border restrictions may be easing but the Queensland government is confident its regional quarantine facility can still be used for “an array of options”.

Finishing touches are being put on the centre at Wellcamp, west of Brisbane, which is set to open in the “coming weeks”.

The 500-bed opening stage is almost complete with the administration and reception set to be completed while the rest of the 1000-bed centre is expected to be unveiled by April.

The federal government is building another 1000-bed quarantine camp in Pinkenba, near Brisbane airport, like similar centres in Melbourne and Perth.

However, the Queensland Opposition has questioned the value of the Wellcamp facility outside Toowoomba with quarantine requirements easing.

Domestic travellers have been able to enter from 1am on Saturday without showing proof of a negative COVID-19 test.

Fully jabbed international arrivals won’t need to quarantine once the state hits the 90 per cent vaccination target, set to be reached in coming days.

But Deputy Premier Steven Miles said there would still be a need for the quarantine facility.

“Clearly over time the usage of a facility like that is going to change as we have met our vaccination targets,” he said.

“But there will continue to be a need for quarantine for some arrivals as well as other cohorts.”

There have been a “wide variety of times” when Queensland has need such accommodation, Mr Miles said.

Chief health officer John Gerrard said the Wellcamp facility was as important as ever, and “very safe from an infection control point of view”.

“If I am sick and I have a household member who has some immune disorder and I don’t want to (home quarantine) that (Wellcamp) is a good place to put them,” he said.

Wagner Corporation built the quarantine facility on its land at Wellcamp and have leased it to the Queensland government for at least one year.

While the arrangement is commercial-in-confidence, Mr Miles confirmed a 12-month lease from the Wagner Corporation with a further 12-month option.

“The lease arrangement represents good value when compared to the very significant costs that we’ve incurred renting out entire hotels for the best part of the last two years,” he said.

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