Wagner Begins Work on Regional Queensland Quarantine Facility


The Queensland government is pushing forward with a regional quarantine facility despite failing to secure Commonwealth funding for the project.

The landowner, Wagner Corporation, has started early works on the 1000-bed facility near Toowoomba Wellcamp Airport, which will be open for use by the end of this year.

The announcement follows the state putting an immediate pause on interstate hotspot arrivals to Queensland’s hotel quarantine on August 25.

The facility was announced early this year, however, the federal government did not support the plans, instead proposing its own 1000-bed facility near Brisbane Airport, which the state government agreed to 10 days ago.

The Wellcamp plans would be modelled on the Howard Springs development designed by AECOM with greenspace corridors, balconies and recreation facilities.

People needing to quarantine would be transported by bus or helicopter to the Toowoomba site, which would also have space for police and health professionals to stay on site.

The cost of the project was deemed commercial-in-confidence but “worth it”, according to the state government, as the last lockdown cost the state about $1 billion.

The state would lease the facility from Wagner for one year with the option to extend it by two or three years and the potential for the nearby airport to be utilised further.

Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said the project was a “no brainer”.

“We are going to have this facility starting to be up and running by the end of the year with 500 beds, and 1000 beds by the first quarter of next year,” Palaszczuk said.

The premier said using the site during the Brisbane 2032 Olympics was also a “good idea”.

Deputy premier Steven Miles said the facility would help Queensland to continue to open up and avoid expensive lockdowns.

“It’s clear there is an urgent need for alternative facilities in Australia,” Miles said.

“We need a facility like this urgently, and the Wellcamp proposal will be ready months before any other proposed facility in Queensland.”

Wagner Group chairperson John Wagner said work head begun.

“We are working through the final design criteria to make sure we have the best fit-for-purpose regional accommodation facility for return travellers that there is in the country,” Wagner said.

“It will create a lot of local employment (for) our local producers, just by the fact we have to produce 3000 meals a day.”

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