REVEALED: Will Gladstone be a quarantine hub?
CITIZENS of the port city can rest assured Gladstone will not become a regional quarantine hub for returned travellers, MP Glenn Butcher has said.
Following a National Cabinet meeting where every state agreed to take more travellers returning to Australia from overseas, Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said Gladstone, Cairns and Brisbane would be considered as possible locations.
Last Monday, Deputy Premier Steven Miles confirmed expressions of interest had been sent to Gladstone hotels and motels to accommodate returned travellers for the mandatory 14 day quarantine period.
On Tuesday, Manufacturing and Regional Development Minister Butcher told The Observer hotels did not want to be involved in a quarantine hub, but the Homeground accommodation facility at Yarwun was being considered.
Today Mr Butcher said Gladstone and Central Queensland had been ‘taken off the table’ as locations for a quarantine hub due to ‘a couple of reasons’.
“Central Queensland has been taken off the list of potential places for a COVID quarantine hub,” he said.
“It was only expressions of interest that were called for.
“The ones that they were looking at, probably one of them being Homeground, there was obviously a call from industry about the need to maintain a facility to continue shutdowns.
“Logistics, the airports (Gladstone not being an international airport) and how to get people here were another issue.
“There were a heap of factors also that took it off the books.”
Mr Butcher said when Gladstone was first touted as an option for a quarantine hub, he stressed it was only ‘early stages’.
“The people of Gladstone can rest assured now, as I said it was only early stages and it was only an investigation to see what can be done,” he said.
“It is important to note that this does not change the Palaszczuk Government’s commitment to help Australian’s get home by taking additional overseas arrivals into hotel quarantine.
“Because we know that many Australians have been stranded overseas as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic and we know how difficult this has been.”
From September 27, Mr Butcher said Queensland would be taking in 700 returned Australian travellers per week.
This will ramp up to 1000 people a week from October 4.