Victoria’s proposed quarantine solution is promising

I noted yesterday how the Victorian Government was planning to overhaul the state’s quarantine system after a series of failures at quarantine hotels leaked virus into the community and resulted in 115 days of hard lockdowns and more than 800 deaths.

Specifically, the Victorian Government is seeking to build purpose-built quarantine facilities at either Melbourne Airport or Avalon Airport that would be modeled on the Northern Territory’s Howard Springs Facilty (shown below).

Facilities like Howard Springs offer clear benefits over using city quarantine hotels, namely:

  • They are located away from major population centres;
  • They provide abundant fresh air and space between guests and staff; and
  • They provide greater comfort than being stuffed into a hotel room for two weeks.

Having quarantine facilities offers at airports offers the added benefit of enabling international arrivals to be easily transported to their accommodation after landing, thereby reducing virus transmission risks during transit.

Below is an interesting segment from ABC 7.30 Report on Victoria’s proposal. Interestingly, Linfox and Avalon Airport have pitched the proposal to government and believe they can build the facility in a matter of months.

Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews explained the facility as follows:

“It would be a cabin-style, village-style environment where there would be fresh air, where there would be not zero risk but lower risk…

“You have got potential contributions from the private operator; you have got potential contributions from the Victorian Government on behalf of taxpayers and there might even be a contribution from the Commonwealth Government who have responsibility for these matters after all”.

If the Victorian Government follows through with its proposal, it will go from having arguably the nation’s worst quarantine system to one of the best.

So, while I have lambasted the Victorian Government over its prior poor handling of hotel quarantine, it deserves credit here for proactively trying to fix the system by moving quarantine out of high-risk, dense city hotels.

The same credit cannot be extended to the Morrison Government, which has shirked responsibility to the states and washed its hands of the problem, despite being constitutionally responsible for quarantine.

The Morrison Government should have established a series of Howard Springs-like facilities last year, or at least paid the states to do so.

The least it can do now is back the Victorian Government on this proposal and pick up the tab.

Unconventional Economist
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  1. Time to short hotels is now.
    Also how on earth has scummo shirked his reaponsibility under the law for so long and gotten away with it?
    Dont every family who have lost lives now against the fed govt for not providing for adequate quarantine as is their responsibility under law?

  2. They can build all the resplendent accomodation they want , they’ll still hand it out to private industry who’ll run the concept into the ground at exorbitant rates. Strange this website is applauding the very apparatus the government will use to re establish the mass immigration Ponzi scheme though. The only thing saving us is poor quarantine.

    • Arthur Schopenhauer

      Too true Fisho. The MB boys appear blind to the underlying drivers.

      The private sector has different incentives, and works for its own interest, not the public interest. While the Victorian Government has divested itself of any of the people and processes capable of delivering such a facility, for the public interest. 25 years of outsourcing.

      Catch 22.

  3. I don’t support this being built at Avalon or lining Fox’s pockets. The only advantage is proximity to the point of entry. That’s it. A short minibus ride is the sole advantage.

    Before we flush our cash can’t we look at regional hotels, scout camps and resorts. Can’t we build a proper quarantine centre on Government owned land? Hell, keep it at Avalon for all I care, just build it on government owned land so we aren’t paying rents to Lindsay.

  4. UE, I have some thoughts that I’d like others and your opinion on.


    I put it to the community that you can have Quarantine anywhere, in Brighton, Sydney, doubleBay, Christmas Island or on a barge in the pacific, it makes no difference.

    The issue with Quarantining is PPE, process and procedures plus the workers Not where the location is, workers still travel to and from Quarantine sites, they are the mechanism for the virus to get into the larger community. NT has good PPE + process and procedures in place, the Andrews’ government fails badly in all three.

    The only way to stop quarantine outbreaks is to stop travelers coming.

    Just on Lindsey Fox, just before the end of the second lock down last year he spoke out in favour of Andrews and at that point I felt something was going on, a little bit of you scratch my back I’ll scratch yours, this Avalon thing was thrashed out ~Sept/Oct last year.

    If it goes a head at Avalon then Lindsey Fox + Andrews = Corruption due to not independent tender process.

  5. Why not just use Mount Hotham until end of June? It’s empty, isolated and has an airport at Dinner Plain. Buller and Falls creek would also make great quarantine options until winter. They all have a bus system in place and can have staff living on mountain with a system of something like 2 weeks on, 2 weeks off.

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