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Plans scrapped for Parafield Airport quarantine facility

written by Hannah Dowling | November 12, 2021
An aerial shot of Parafield Airport and some of its training facilities. (Parafield Airport)

Plans for a quarantine facility that would facilitate the return of international students at Parafield Airport have now been scrapped, as South Australia prepares to instead welcome back students from overseas with no quarantine requirements.

In May, the South Australian government revealed its intention to repurpose the on-site accommodation of Parafield-based flight school Flight Training Adelaide to become a quarantine facility for international students.

However, little progress has been made on the plan since its initial proposal, and Study Adelaide chief executive Karyn Kent confirmed on Friday that the facility is now no longer required.

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“That was expected to be ready to welcome international students by December this year and of course with those changes, that’s no longer required,” she said.

The news comes after South Australia revealed its roadmap out of COVID-related border closures, which states that once the state hits the 90 per cent double-dose target in its population aged 12 and over, the state will once again welcome back fully vaccinated students from overseas with no quarantine requirements.

“Things are moving faster than we thought,” said Kent of the roadmap. “That’s a great thing for the students who need to get back at the beginning of 2022.”

Last year, South Australia was pinned to be the testbed for the return of international students, as announced by Trade Minister Simon Birmingham.

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Under that federally endorsed plan, up to 300 students from China, Hong Kong and Japan were expected to travel from Singapore into Adelaide in September 2020, before undertaking the standard 14-day hotel quarantine.

This plan was swiftly scrapped as the government faced significant backlash over the rate at which Australians stranded overseas were repatriated due to international arrival caps, and the ban on non-residents entering into the country.

Back in May, SA chief public health officer Professor Nicola Spurrier announced the proposal to turn FTA’s on-site accommodation into a government quarantine hub, in a bid to revive the state’s $2 billion international education economy.

At that time, SA, and much of the country, was anticipating overseas arrivals would continue to face quarantine requirements upon arrival in Australia, until at least early-to-mid 2022.

However, this all changed when NSW Premier Dominic Perrottet announced in October that from 1 November, Australian citizens and residents returning to his state from overseas would no longer be required to complete any form of quarantine.

The NSW announcement appeared to deviate from the national reopening plan, announced by the Prime Minister on 1 October, which specified that fully vaccinated residents and citizens would enter a seven-day home quarantine upon arrival in Australia.

Since the NSW announcement, both Victoria and the ACT have similarly scrapped quarantine requirements for Australians returning from overseas.

Under SA’s roadmap, from 23 November, fully vaccinated Australian citizens and residents can arrive from overseas and enter into a seven-day home quarantine, however SA will also scrap quarantine for the double-jabbed once the state hits the 90 per cent target.

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