COVID-19 vaccine roll-out: when does it start and who gets it first?

‘An absolute insult’: MP slams mine camp COVID proposal

A Central Queensland politician has blasted the premier’s proposal to move returned Queensland travellers to remote mine camps, describing it as an ‘absolute insult’.

Stakeholders including Queensland Health and police will meet with owners of the proposed accommodation ­facilities this week to discuss how the rollout could work.

No exact locations have been released yet, but many of the state’s mining camps are in the Central Queensland region.

Burdekin MP Dale Last said he could not even believe Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk was serious about using a mining camp as a quarantine facility.

“What the premier needs to understand is that many of the mining communities have what is effectively a third world health service,” Mr Last said.

“Some of them have no doctors and in others you can’t even have an X-ray taken, so how are they meant to deal with a potential outbreak of coronavirus?

“Instead of solving the problem, the premier is talking about dumping it on regional communities who don’t have the infrastructure or health services to handle a quarantine facility, not to mention it would be putting one of Queensland’s key industries at risk.”

The Burdekin MP went on to describe the idea as “another thought bubble that clearly hasn’t been properly thought through”.

Burdekin MP Dale Last. Picture: Shae Beplate.
Burdekin MP Dale Last. Picture: Shae Beplate.

During a press conference on Thursday, Ms Palaszczuk said the government would look at all options, including mining camps.

“Now, for a start, some of these mining camps are four-star,” she said.

“They are of a very good quality high standard.

“My understanding is some of them have – most of them, the ones we’re looking at – have balconies, so there’s a lot of fresh air for guests and also, too, there’s the capacity for all of the staff and the cleaners and everyone to also be based on those sites as well.”

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The Queensland Resources Council said it would continue to work with the chief health officer, QRC members and the State Government to provide feedback on the proposal.

QRC chief executive Ian Macfarlane said the Premier and the CHO would make the final the decision on the use of isolated mining camps for quarantined travellers.

“The resources industry will co-operate and assist where requested,” he said.

“Keeping our workers and the Queensland community safe, particularly in regional areas, will continue to be our priority.

“We will work closely with the government to provide input into any decisions that impact on our workforce and the communities in which we operate.”

An inside view of a mining camp room.
An inside view of a mining camp room.

What Daily Mercury readers had to say about the idea:

Judi Fredrickson: The concept is good, but the actual idea is full of holes. Why not set up an isolation point in a showground, sport oval close to the hospital which will house those who test positive. This eliminates a lot of variables. Government agencies can set up mobile camps anywhere, use them for this purpose.

Tasha Dentener-Martin: Rural/regional areas don’t have enough medical/hospital resources for those that live here as is. Any serious trauma/medical issue gets flown at government cost to major hospital, how is this good use of government resources! Not to mention ambulances having to transport Covid cases to hospitals on their already stretched ambulance resources!

Why bring infections up to regions that are and have been clear for quite a while!

Ange Nixon: Stupid idea. Keep them in the South East where the medical resources are – because they’re certainly limited in the North.

Mellisa Murphy Hehir: Like we need to get corona out there what a disaster that’s a stupid idea

Louise Steains: Protect the capital cities at the expense of the regions. How many more will be exposed during the transportation of these people?

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