I want to place on record my deep concern and regret, at the Queensland Labor Governments idea, of placing regional quarantine camp in Toowoomba, in my electorate of Groom.
The Premier floated this idea at a press conference on 22 January, 2021 – in what now seems a desperate attempt to find a solution to her regional quarantine plans. Originally proposing to use remote mining camps, that plan came undone.
The Premier proposed two sites, Gladstone and Toowoomba, with no detail at all. This caused significant community anxiety, fear and concern.
As we know, the Gladstone proposal was quickly rejected by the community and local leaders, particularly the Labor Mayor of Gladstone.
In Toowoomba, we kept an open mind, of course community concern rose and that was reflected through the calls to my office, the emails and people in the street, all they wanted to talk about is the quarantine camp.
That again, was on 22 January. Every day since, anxiety, fear and concern has risen in the community. But not only residents, business leaders and most importantly health leaders have raised their concerns about this proposal and the lack of consultation from the State Government.
Do not get me wrong. If you want anyone to build this facility, to do it well and do it quickly – the Wagners will get you there. But it was the Premier who asked for Wagners to provide them with construction detail. They have done that.
But as John Wagner said himself in the media, the rest is up to the state:
“We will build it and maintain it, do the food and beverage, Queensland will be involved in how the health side of things works and ever room will have its own air condition system,” he said.
The State Labor Government would be responsible for the delivery and management of the day to day operations of any facility. The State Labor Government would be responsible for the security and policing of the facility.
I have had no response to my letters sent to the Premier on 25 January and 9 February, requesting more detail.
Premier Palaszczuk’s dot point plan lacks detail and is insufficient. The community does not support it and I again call on her to provide an operational plan, details around health and policing and I urge her to come to Toowoomba and explain her quarantine camp concept in detail.