In response to criticism of the Queensland government’s lease on a quarantine facility near Toowoomba, QLD Attorney-General Shannon Fentiman said they had been talking to the cruise industry about using the facility for returned COVID positive passengers.
Since opening in February, the Wellcamp facility has only hosted 504 people.
Fentiman believes the camp is a worthwhile investment with potential in the future and has remained useful and necessary, the ABC reported.
“We don’t know what’s around the corner, and we’re still experiencing COVID, and there are still people there today,” Fentiman said.
“This comes back to the federal government not stepping up and doing what it was responsible for and that was quarantine, so we acted.
“It has been used and is still being used, and I believe it will continue to be used going forward.”
The ABC reported that there were 72 people isolating at the facility as of Friday, a state government spokesperson said.
The 504 people that have used the Wellcamp facility since its opening in February include 296 isolation guests and 208 quarantine accommodation guests.
The QLD government contributed nearly $48.8 million towards the construction of the facility, according to a government source, however media reports speculated the price tag for the first year of operation is about $190 million.
Some of the criticism against Fentiman came from QLD opposition leader David Crisafulli, who said the Wellcamp facility could have been part of an “argy-bargy” between the state and federal governments.
“If that’s the case, it’s really sad, because taxpayers’ money deserves to be treated sacrosanct,” he said.
The federal government’s quarantine facility is expected to open in a few weeks on crown land at Pinkenba in Brisbane’s east.