PM slams Premier over Calliope quarantine camp plan
Prime Minister Scott Morrison has criticised the Queensland Premier for failing to answer legitimate questions around the proposal to use a Calliope workers camp as a quarantine facility.
Mr Morrison said Annastacia Palaszczuk must explain what would be done to prevent a COVID-19 outbreak if a quarantine facility was established at Homeground Gladstone, a workforce accommodation village in Calliope.
The proposal to use workers camps followed the outbreak of the highly contagious UK strain in Brisbane hotel, The Hotel Grand Chancellor.
Mr Morrison said there were significant concerns given the large number of workers arriving to the region for crucial maintenance work.
As of Thursday morning, a proposal had not been seen by the federal or local governments.
"I think there are clear concerns here in Gladstone for a lot of quite sensible reasons," Mr Morrison said.
"I think the premier would have to get the local mayor on board for a start and I don't think that's happening at this point.
"I think they have some quite genuine issues they are raising," he said.
On Wednesday night, Mayor Matt Burnett presented Mr Morrison a list of questions surrounding the quarantine facility.
In the letter, Cr Burnett asked if Gladstone's local medical facilities would cope with a COVID-19 outbreak and whether the facility would impact Gladstone's major industries, real estate and tourism.
He said the council was also concerned about breaches and how if COVID-19 escaped into the community it could impact the industrial based economy.
Cr Burnett said council would need to look at all the options, not just the negatives, at the recent council meeting on Tuesday.
"What does it mean for our two alumina refineries, our smelter, our three LNG plants and other industries - there are so many industries that cannot shutdown. You can shutdown a cafe in George Street but you cannot shutdown an alumina refinery outside of Gladstone," he said.
"It is not a case of 'not in my backyard'.
"The facility is probably the most appropriate to use in the country, but it is just its location in Gladstone not because it is my town but because we simply do not have the medical facilities in Gladstone."
Mr Morrison said there were genuine concerns from the Gladstone community as well.
"People here they don't want to see Brisbane's issues dumped on those in the north," he said.
"They have issues about what it means for local health, these are all legitimate questions.
"I think any proposal the Premier would want to bring forward, I think they would have to swear those off."
A spokesperson for the Premier's office said Premier Palaszczuk had been in contact with the Mayor about the issues and he was being kept informed as a range of options were considered.
"The Premier will be discussing this issue further with National Cabinet tomorrow," the spokesperson said.