Queensland is considering the use of remote mining camps to quarantine returning Australians, as it looks to tighten procedures in the wake of emerging new strains of COVID-19.
Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said the state was “looking at all options”, and would take the mining camp proposal to the next meeting of national cabinet on January 22.
“With this new strain, we have to put all options on the table and these are sensible, rational options,” she said.
“One of those is to look at some of the mining camps we have in Queensland, some of which are four-star and of a very good, quality, high standard.
“Most of the ones we’re looking at have balconies, so there’s a lot of fresh air for guests and also there’s the capacity for all staff and cleaners to also be based on those sites as well.”
The Premier cited the success of Howard Springs, a former migrant workers’ camp near Darwin that is being used to quarantine international arrivals and interstate travellers.
Howard Springs has been housing returned Australians and permanent residents for several months.
“Howard Springs works well in the Northern Territory and there’s no reason why we couldn’t do something similar here in Queensland or if not around the country,” Ms Palaszczuk said.
Queensland Resources Council chief executive Ian Macfarlane said the body would work provide input into any decisions that impact on mining workforces and communities, but added the decision to use isolated mining camps for quarantining travellers will be made by the Premier and chief health officer.
“Keeping our workers and the Queensland community safe, particularly in regional areas will continue to be our priority,” he said.
“Our diligence has meant the resources sector has been able to continue to operate and earn for Queensland. The resources industry will cooperate and assist where requested.”