The Victorian Government is moving ahead with plans to build a 500-bed cabin-style quarantine facility at Donnybrook Road, Mickelham – north of Melbourne. The facility is estimated to cost $200 million to build and the federal government has been called upon to fund the facility:
“It’s clear the virus will be with us for some time,” Acting Premier James Merlino said.
Mr Merlino said the detailed proposal had been sent through to the Commonwealth.
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While the Victorian government will do the detailed planning, he wants them to fund construction and then ultimately own it, like the Howard Springs facility in the Northern Territory.
The 500-bed facility – which could be scaled up to 3000 beds – could be open by the end of the year.
“The request to the Commonwealth is they pay for the construction of this facility and ultimately take ownership of this facility. As I said, this is a Commonwealth responsibility and just like Howard Springs, it should be owned by the Commonwealth.
This is a terrific idea modelled on the successful Howard Springs open air facility near Darwin:
These types of facilities offer enormous benefits over conducting quarantine in hotels located in capital cities, 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.
The $200 million price tag would be money well spent.
Having a robust quarantine system is Australia’s number one defence against the virus. The Morrison Government must immediately approve and fund this facility, as well as roll out similar facilities across Australia.
No more excuses.
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