Tuesday, November 30, 2021

Australia signs MOU with state for quarantine facility

The Australian Commonwealth Government and the Victorian Government have reached an agreement on a stand-alone quarantine facility, with the site yet to be confirmed.

Victoria’s stand-alone virus quarantine facility will continue, although state and federal governments have yet to agree on where it will be built.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison told reporters in Canberra that the Commonwealth would pay for the facility, but the Victorian government would manage the facility and cover the running costs.

‘It will help both [the Victorian government] in the risk management of different groups that they provide for in their quarantine system, as well as to provide extra capacity for the quarantine system in Victoria, ”Morrison said.

Morrison said he was “very pleased” with the Victorian government’s proposal for the facility, which, unlike his comments on a similar proposal from the Queensland government, which he said repeatedly did not have essential details. and propose to replace the hotel quarantine rather than supplement it. in the state.

Acting Prime Minister James Merlino confirmed on Friday that he had signed a memorandum of understanding with Morrison.

“I am very, very happy that we have an agreement today, that we are going to crack this facility,” Merlino told reporters.

But no site has yet been decided on for the plant, with a site in Mickleham, north of Melbourne, the state’s first option, while the federal government apparently prefers Avalon Airport near Geelong.

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“We prefer Mickleham. We are very happy to have it at the Avalon site as well. It will work just as well there,” Merlino said.

He added that the proposal has the approval of the Commonwealth, and the Victorian government will now try to get the facility built faster than the current timeline.

When Victoria first proposed the facility at the end of April, the final call would be made in September with the hope that it would be ready by the end of the year.

Site investigations were conducted at both locations.

Treasurer Josh Frydenberg on Thursday strongly suggested that Avalon be the federal government’s preferred option.

Victoria wanted the Commonwealth to fund and build the $ 200 million facility for $ 200 million.

The center will operate the current hotel quarantine system ‘above and beyond’.

Defense Minister Peter Dutton told Channel Nine on Friday that not even a dedicated quarantine facility can prevent the problems that have arisen in the hotel’s quarantine.

“I think where people are involved, there is a possibility of infringement, and therefore there is no fundamental problem with the hotel quarantine at all,” he said.

A leak from the hotel quarantine system in South Australia has caused Victoria’s current outbreak and a rapid exclusion, the state’s fourth.

AAP contributed to this article.

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