It was instructive to read comments from Garth Hamilton MP (The Chronicle, 23/1/21) about the proposed Toowoomba quarantine hub. When asked about being comfortable with the quarantine hub if it was proved safe, what could a rational person say but “Yes”? If safety is truly the “forefront of [his] concerns” and it has been assured, then what is his problem?
Clearly his problem is partisan politics since what he doesn’t want is “another Dan Andrews hotel (saga)”. The problems in Victoria arose from a combination of unsatisfactory quarantine arrangements in hotels, the lack of a plan for infection control in aged care facilities, and people in low paid insecure employment working multiple jobs. What Mr Hamilton does not want to admit is that all of those – quarantine, aged care, and employment conditions – are responsibilities of the Commonwealth government to which he belongs and which has shirked its responsibilities in all three areas.
It’s time to accept that we need a national approach to quarantine and that inner city hotels with shared air-conditioning and limited or no access to fresh air are not a good solution. If there are suitable facilities in the regions, then their use should be investigated.