Gladstone quarantine hotels would support jobs: Butcher
UPDATE: 2.50pm: THE Local Disaster Management Group would be engaged to work with Queensland Health if Gladstone was to become a quarantine city, the council has said.
Gladstone Regional Council Mayor Matt Burnett said the Queensland Government had announced Gladstone as a possible location to help bring Queenslanders, currently overseas, home.
"If required, council and the Local Disaster Management Group would be engaged at a district level to support the Queensland Government's response under a multi-agency approach," Cr Burnett said.
"Support from council has not formally been requested at this stage and the final decision will be made by Queensland Health."
Member for Gladstone Glenn Butcher, who is currently in transit to Gladstone, said the Queensland Government was working through options for quarantine hubs for international arrivals, including in regional Queensland.
"Having quarantine accommodation in a centre like Gladstone would support regional jobs - for example in food preparation, transport or logistics," he said.
"Hotel quarantine is very closely managed by Queensland Police Service and Queensland Health, with assistance from Australian Defence Force personnel, to ensure proper support, monitoring and supervision of quarantined people and keep the community safe.
"At this stage, the government is considering different options and we will keep the community informed along the way," he said.
"Along with stringent border controls, social distancing and robust testing, quarantine is one of the most important tools in the fight to keep Queenslanders safe from COVID-19."
INITIAL REPORT: 1.30pm HOTELS across the Gladstone region have been touted as potential quarantine bases for travellers returning to Australia from overseas.
The National Cabinet reached an agreement last week that Queensland would take in an extra 500 returning travellers a week and Gladstone is on the radar as a destination.
Over the next fortnight Annastacia Palaszczuk has agreed that the state will ramp up the number of returned travellers it takes in from 500 to 1000 per week in early October.
The news comes as the Gladstone LGA has only seen one COVID-19 case since the pandemic began.
The Premier said she had heard touching stories about Queenslanders trying to get home.
"This is heartbreaking to hear the stories of people trapped overseas - Queenslanders trapped overseas," Ms Palaszczuk said last week.
"We know that the virus is spreading in some of these countries.
"I understand the desperation of mums and dads wanting their kids to come home."
All returning Queenslanders will be required to quarantine in a hotel for 14 days at their own expense.
The move to increase the number of travellers returning to Queensland would see the cost to the state increase through more and other required health responses.
Ms Palaszczuk said the government would be contacting hotels in Gladstone, Cairns and Brisbane this week to determine the regions that could accommodate more travellers.
Police and the Australian Defence Force ADF will share the responsibilities for policing the quarantine measures.
Prime Minister Scott Morrison has promised to deploy more ADF personnel to assist Queensland police.
But the situation in Victoria is clearly on Premier Palaszczuk's mind.
"We have to get this right," Ms Palaszczuk said.
"No-one wants to see what's happened in Victoria happen anywhere else.
"We've got a large number of cases happening overseas where COVID is more prevalent, so there is a higher risk."
Member for Gladstone Glenn Butcher and Gladstone Regional Council have been contacted for comment.