The owners of Wellcamp Airport have pitched the idea of a new purpose-built 1,000 room quarantine facility based at the airport for incoming overseas arrivals.
According to a report by the ABC, the plan would see Wellcamp Airport, west of Toowoomba and 150 kilometres outside of Brisbane, as a new entry-point into the country for Australians arriving home.
Airport chairman John Wagner told the public broadcaster that the facility could be built within “the next four to five weeks”, on vacant land next to the airport’s terminal.
Once complete, Wagner said arriving passengers would be transferred to the facility by bus, to then undergo their mandatory 14-day quarantine period.
“We can get them off the plane and be in their accommodation facility in less than five minutes,” he said, “There would be no interaction with our staff, there would be no interaction with the general public and there would be no interaction with our terminal.
“We believe that it’s a much smarter and safer and cost-efficient operation than what they’ve currently got going.”
Wagner also said the proposal includes another 300 designated rooms for staff to live on-site, as well as COVID-19 testing facilities, kitchens, CCTV and fencing around the facility.
“It would be a very tightly controlled environment, and that way we can keep this virus under control,” he said. “People can come into this country and not have any interaction with the public whatsoever, and go straight to their facility and stay in a nice room with fresh air.”
Currently, returned overseas arrivals complete their mandatory quarantine in hotels in Brisbane city, however the Queensland government has been in search of other locations outside of the busy capital, in light of the stronger UK variant of the virus.
Wagner said a team of government and Queensland Health officials had already visited the proposed site, and the Queensland government is currently preparing a formal submission to the Prime Minister.