Qld govt uncertain on quarantine staff pay

·2-min read

The Queensland government is forging ahead with a proposed regional quarantine camp, but it is yet to work out who will work there and how they will be paid.

The Wagner Group wants to build a quarantine facility which would host up to 1000 people and 300 staff at Wellcamp airport near Toowoomba.

The state government has backed the facility, which could be up and running within 14 weeks.

Deputy Premier Steven Miles says it's up to the federal government to enter talks so the project can progress from the feasibility study stage.

"The ball is largely in the federal government's court now," he told reporters at Wellcamp on Tuesday.

"We've put forward a lot of information, we've answered a lot of questions, and now it's really up to the federal government to decide whether they will act to keep communities safe."

The Wagner Group said it does not need any government funding to build the facility, with construction to be fully funded by guests' quarantine fees.

Chairman Richard Wagner admits its unclear who will staff the facility and who will pay them.

"This is the detail to be worked out in the next stage," he said.

Dr Miles said the 300 staff would include cleaners and caterers, Queensland Health workers and Queensland police officers and potentially ADF personnel as well.

He indicated the state wants Canberra to help pay for the workers.

"We'd be able to work between Commonwealth government agencies, state government agencies, and the Wagners to determine who did what and what the model there was," Mr Miles said.

"We're obviously keen to still be involved, but what we need here is more support from the Commonwealth government.

"Clearly a national quarantine facility shouldn't be the responsibility solely of a state."

Dr Miles said full-time, live-in staff would dramatically reduce the risk of exposing the virus to the general population.

A purpose-built facility would also have proper ventilation, unlike city hotels, to avoid the "corridor effect" of the virus spreading via common areas.

The deputy premier said shifting quarantine out of cities would dramatically reduce the risk of future lockdowns.

"We've put forward this as a proposal to avoid having to shut down whole cities for four or five days, like we've seen in Perth, and Brisbane, and Melbourne, and Scott Morrison really needs to consider how many times he wants to see that happen before we put in place a more effective quarantine regime that's able to deal with these new, more infectious strains," Dr Miles said.

Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk warned earlier on Tuesday that the risk of the virus spreading from hotel quarantine could remain for months if nothing changed.

"We are in a high-risk state in relation to hotel quarantine until the whole population has had the vaccine," she said.