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Queensland Regional Accommodation Centre

Project overview

The Queensland Government will build the first purpose-built regional accommodation centre at Wellcamp, 15km from the centre of Toowoomba.

The facility forms part of Queensland’s quarantine management approach and meets an urgent need to keep Queenslanders safe from COVID-19 through safe, secure and effective quarantine processes. It will ensure we have quarantine capacity for travellers to return to Queensland.

Even as restrictions change in line with Queensland’s COVID-19 Vaccine Plan to Unite Families, there will still be a need for a variety of quarantine options to provide appropriate quarantine settings for a range of individual circumstances and public health requirements.

Delivery of the accommodation centre will be in two stages with 500 beds operational by the end of 2021 and a further 500 beds operational in the first quarter of 2022.

Fast facts

  • Located at Wellcamp, 15km from the centre of Toowoomba

  • 1000-bed facility delivered in two stages

  • Located in close proximity to the Toowoomba Wellcamp Airport

  • Stage 1 operational by the end of 2021 (approx. 500 beds)
    Stage 2 operational by Q1 2022 (approx. 500 beds)

  • Built under a joint agreement between the Queensland Government and landowner Wagner Corporation

  • Separate, self-contained cabin-style accommodation with access to fresh airflow and outside balconies.

Joint agreement

The Queensland Government and landowner Wagner Corporation formed a joint agreement to build the Wellcamp quarantine facility.

The project was announced by the Queensland Government on 26 August 2021.

Design, planning construction and operation

Wagner Corporation is building the facility to meet specifications and requirements for infection prevention and control set by the Queensland Government, who will operate the facility.

The facility will be based on the design of the Centre for National Resilience in Howard Springs, Darwin (formerly known as the Manigurr-ma Village), offering separated, self-contained cabin-style accommodation with access to fresh airflow and outside balconies.

The following principles set the direction for the design of the Queensland Regional Accommodation Centre:

  • Create a built environment that supports reduced COVID-19 transmission risks
  • Provide infection control and prevention through segregation of guests, controlled access and management of flows of people and services.
  • Promote the mental health and wellbeing of guests through room design which allows for natural light and access to fresh air.
  • Create a safe environment with a balanced security and policing presence that reflects the purpose of the facility.
  • Promote of a culture of safety through a one team approach.

Facility characteristics that reflect the design principles include:

  • A separation of the support services from the accommodation blocks.
  • There are four separate accommodation blocks for guests. These are supported by their own staffing team and their own arrivals area.
  • A ring road circles the site and allows for direct access to the accommodation blocks by buses to enable guests to disembark at their designated accommodation block.
  • Infection control requirements are embedded through the design with the use of dedicated clean and dirty zones for goods and staff, and zones for staff to put on and take off their PPE safely
  • Guest accommodation has been designed to promote the wellbeing of guests.

Queensland Regional Accommodation Centre master plan map

Accommodation modules will be built in Queensland with construction creating 350 – 400 local jobs.

It will set a new high standard for regional quarantine.

Timeline

Sept 2021

Planning approval
Design application/concept
Construction to commence at Wellcamp

Oct/Nov 2021

Construction of stages one and two


Dec 2021

Formal handover
Stage 1 Wellcamp (500 beds)

1st quarter 2022

Stage 2 Wellcamp (500 beds)

Location benefits

  • A greenfield site designed for quarantine and well-being
  • A dedicated regional facility with buffers to residential areas
  • Co-location with the Toowoomba Wellcamp Airport
  • Easy access to Brisbane and other South East Queensland locations
  • Regional employment and opportunities for local producers, goods and service providers and suppliers

Queensland's quarantine network

The Queensland Regional Accommodation Centre will be one of two purpose-built Queensland quarantine facilities. The other is being built by the Australian Government at Pinkenba in Brisbane and will be known as the Centre for National Resilience Brisbane. The Queensland Government will operate both accommodation centres.

Facility uses

In addition to returning travellers, returning international students and agriculture workers will be the first industry groups to utilise the Queensland Regional Accommodation Centre for quarantine purposes. This is an important step in rebuilding Queensland’s economy. .

As we move towards achieving vaccination targets and reach the milestones in Queensland’s COVID-19 Vaccine Plan to Unite Families,  we will continue to open up Queensland, and restrictions and requirements around quarantine may change.

Future uses of the Queensland Regional Accommodation Centre are being considered. These may include worker’s accommodation for major projects, accommodation for key economic groups, such as seasonal workers, or training accommodation facilities.

Through this versatile model, the Queensland Regional Accommodation Centre will continue to operate and support ongoing opportunities for economic development in the region through local employment opportunities, and local producers and suppliers within the supply chain.

Frequently asked questions

Quarantine management in Queensland

  • Fundamental to our future of living with COVID-19 is to proceed in a measured, cautious and safe way. This is critical in our progress towards bringing Queenslanders home and our economic recovery.

    Even as restrictions change in line with Queensland’s COVID-19 Vaccine Plan to Unite Families, purpose-built facilities such as the Queensland Regional Accommodation Centre will continue to play a role in the broader quarantine management approach for the State. Support will be needed for individuals who don't meet the requirements for home quarantine, those who are unvaccinated, those arriving from regions of higher risk, and identified groups of economic cohorts.

    We must also be prepared for risks of new COVID-19 variants, variable vaccination rates, and a changing policy environment.

    The Queensland Regional Accommodation Centre will give us more capacity within our broader quarantine network and more flexibility to respond to emerging issues. Initially focussed on supporting Queensland’s public health response, the Centre will be a 1000-bed facility that will offer future accommodation uses in an expanding regional area. Some staff accommodation will also be provided.

    The Queensland Government continues to work collaboratively to progress the Commonwealth’s Centre for National Resilience at Pinkenba, Brisbane facility as well, providing a network of quarantine options to get returning Australians home safer and as quickly as possible.

  • Home quarantining plays a role in the broader quarantine management approach for Queensland but it won’t be an option for everyone. Purpose-built facilities such as the Queensland Regional Accommodation Centre will support a range of individual circumstances including those who don't meet the requirements for home quarantine, those who are unvaccinated, those arriving from regions of higher risk, and identified groups of economic cohorts.

  • Having fit-for-purpose facilities will reduce the need for hotel quarantining however they will remain an option within the broader quarantine management approach.

  • Toowoomba residents now have access to new community-based vaccination centres like Clifford Gardens Shopping Centre open seven days a week between 8.30am and 4pm. Visit www.health.qld.gov.au/vaccinebookings to register your interest.

Economic impact and recovery

  • AMP Capital’s chief economist Shane Oliver predicted the 1 to 8 August 2021 lockdown in South East Queensland cost $700 million in lost economic activity.

    There are also costs to Government in providing support to business. On 2 and 10 August 2021, the Queensland Government respectively announced a $260 million 2021 COVID-19 Business Support Grant program to help small businesses through the recent South East Queensland lockdown, and a $47.75 million Tourism and Hospitality Sector COVID-19 Lockdown Support Package to assist Queensland businesses impacted by COVID-19 lockdowns in Queensland and other states.

    Queensland’s small and medium businesses and not-for-profit organisations can also access COIVD-19 cleaning rebates, as part of the State’s $20 million deep clean rebate program.

Quarantine facilities (Wellcamp and Pinkemba)

  • The Queensland Regional Accommodation Centre is an investment in the health and safety of Queenslanders and in Queensland’s economic recovery.

    The facility is being built under a joint agreement between the Queensland Government and landowner Wagner Corporation. With all agreements of this nature, the terms of the agreement are commercial in confidence.

    Wagner Corporation will build the facility with accommodation modules to be manufactured here in Queensland. The Queensland Government will operate the facility once it’s up and running. This facility will be delivered quickly and Wagner Corporation will deliver the first stage for use by the end of 2021.

  • It is common for these types of contracts to be commercial in confidence.

  • Wagner Corporation anticipates that between 350 to 400 jobs will be created during the construction phase.

    The facility will create local employment opportunities and local producers and suppliers are actively being engaged around opportunities to play a role in the facility and its longer term operations.

  • The Queensland Government will continue to work collaboratively to progress the Commonwealth’s Pinkenba facility, but we need more options as part of the quarantine management network to create vital capacity to get returning Australians back home safer and sooner.

    The additional benefit of a regional facility is having a location outside the Southeast corner where we have seen lockdowns impact services like hospitals.

  • We will continue to work with the Commonwealth to support direct flights to Toowoomba Wellcamp Airport.

  • The Queensland Regional Accommodation Centre will give us a fit-for-purpose facility as quickly as possible. It will give us extra capacity to accommodate returning travellers, and  means we will have both regional and metropolitan facilities in Queensland.

  • The Queensland Government will continue to work collaboratively with the Commonwealth to progress the Pinkenba quarantine facility.

  • Wagner Corporation estimates that the first stage of the Queensland Regional Accommodation Centre will be delivered for use by the end of December 2021.

  • The facility will have a 1000-bed capacity, with rooms able to accommodate for individuals, family or friend groups, and those with special needs. This capacity is scalable and can accommodate for fluctuations and surges in returning Queenslanders and travellers.

  • The facility will be for both returning international and interstate travellers.

  • The Queensland Regional Accommodation Centre will give us more capacity in a fit-for-purpose facility and will reduce the need for  hotel quarantine. It’s the Queensland Government’s position that we need a regional facility.

    A feasibility study by AECOM on the Pinkenba site raised a number of concerns that need to be addressed. These include issues relating to noise mitigation; environmental issues including the site being subject to flooding; and its historical use as a defence storage site. We’re working through these with the Commonwealth.

  • As we move towards achieving vaccination targets and reach the milestones in Queensland’s COVID-19 Vaccine Plan to Unite Families, we will continue to open up Queensland and restrictions will change.

    Although the needs around quarantine may change with the environment, future uses of the facility have been contemplated. These may include worker’s accommodation for major projects, accommodation for other economic cohorts, such as seasonal workers, or training accommodation facilities.

    Through this versatile model, the Queensland Regional Accommodation Centre will continue to operate and support ongoing opportunities for economic development in the region through local employment opportunities, and local producers and suppliers within the supply chain.

  • The facility will have a similar appearance to other national quarantine facilities, such as Howard Springs in the Northern Territory. The facility will not look like a prison.

  • We’re working through operational logistics with a range of project stakeholders and will initially maintain the quality systems and processes we have in place. In keeping with our successful COVID response, we’ll ensure community health and safety remains our top priority.

Community and health impacts

  • We continue to talk with business and community leaders in Toowoomba and the surrounding regions as part of our ongoing consultation and planning for the Queensland Regional Accommodation Centre. Key stakeholders include those in local business, health services, multicultural services, local government, and the education and training sector.

    We will keep working with these leaders every step of the way as we move forward to opening of the facility’s first stage by the end of the year.

  • The Queensland Government has formed a joint agreement with Wagner Corporation that’s separate to any other agreements about the use of the site.

  • The facility will have the same high level of security standards and health and safety process and protocols as comparable quarantine facilities. The Queensland Government has safe and effective COVID-19 protocols that will be followed and continue to be improved. We have modelled the facility approach on best practice quarantine processes, taking into account learnings from hotel quarantine and other facilities such as Howard Springs—which has not seen any breaches.

  • There are protocols in place across the state to manage health issues arising in quarantine and these will continue to be followed. Any COVID-19 cases that need to be transferred will be transported to a designated COVID-19 hospital where they can be appropriately treated elsewhere in South East Queensland.

  • Key stakeholders will continue to be engaged and up to date information can be found on this website.

  • The facility will have the same infection control and security standards as comparable quarantine facilities, including those currently in operation in the South East corner. An effective quarantine process is paramount to our COVID-19 response.

    As part of designing the facility operating model, we are continuing to work with local health and safety agencies to minimise the impact on normal service delivery.

  • The facility will have the same high level of infection control and security standards as comparable quarantine facilities..

    The Queensland Regional Accommodation Centre has been designed to ensure it is secure and controlled.

    We are in the process of finalising the operational model and how this will work in relation to staffing, visitor practices and optimising risk reduction. The model will include a combination of onsite health, police and security.

  • All government services have measures in place to deal with lockdowns as part of their pandemic plans and there will be no reduction in services at the Queensland Regional Accommodation Centre due to a lockdown of the surrounding community. We will continue to use the current, successful approach to managing this as we have with our existing COVID-19 response.

    Should an outbreak occur in the facility or surrounding community, it will be handled by the public health specialists under the direction of the Chief Health Officer.

    For all the latest information on COVID-19 in Queensland please refer to the Queensland Health website.

Procurement

  • Our procurement approach aligns with the Queensland Procurement Policy, which aims to maximise the economic benefit to Queensland, maximise Queensland supplier’s opportunity to participate, and to support our regional economies.

    Queensland Government is looking to deliver rapid capability in quarantine facilities management in order to have Queensland’s first Regional Accommodation Centre at Wellcamp available for returning Australians as soon as possible. In response, the procurement process has focussed on proponents with the capability to deliver end-to-end facility management solutions.

    A competitive process is currently underway with an emphasis on buying local, ethical sourcing and ensuring workforce opportunities for the local community.

  • We are committed to building our regions by increasing the participation of Queensland suppliers and local workforces in procurement opportunities. To support efficient and timely procurement processes, we will follow established Queensland procurement channels, including preferred supplier arrangements or pre-qualified suppliers.

    Where small and medium enterprises may not have the capability to deliver end-to-end facility management, there continues to be opportunities for partnership and arrangements between facility management proponents and local business (e.g. food supply).

  • The Queensland Government will work closely with third-party proponents to ensure full, fair and reasonable opportunity for Queensland suppliers, including local suppliers and small business, in line with the Queensland Procurement Policy 2021 and Local Buy arrangements.

  • Planning is ongoing, however it is likely that the same third-party proponent will be engaged to support both Queensland-based quarantine sites. This provides the benefits of consistency of operations and better value for money.

    Maintaining the highest standards of infection control will remain a core focus of the operating model and workforce models will consider all risks associated with this. Currently Queensland Health and other Government staff working in quarantine hotels only work in one facility. The aim would be to replicate these infection control processes for both the Queensland Regional Accommodation Centre and the Centre for National Resilience, Pinkenba, Brisbane.

  • Wagner Corporation and Queensland Health will be managing their respective supplier arrangements.

Queensland student arrivals plan

  • The Queensland Student Arrivals Plan is a program to safely and gradually return international students to Queensland.

    Study Queensland is working closely with Queensland Government agencies including Queensland Health and the Queensland Chief Health Officer, the Australian Government and the international education and training sector, to finalise the details of the plan. The Queensland Student Arrivals Plan will operate under the same robust quarantine and public health standards as Queensland’s existing government-managed quarantine program.

    The Queensland Student Arrivals Plan will operate on a cost recovery basis, with participating education providers and students funding the cost of their quarantine arrangements.

  • International students make an important social and economic contribution to the state. They enrich our community and provide global perspectives in our classrooms, benefiting all students. In 2019, there were over 144,000 international student enrolments in Queensland, representing more than 150 different nationalities.

    International students don’t just reside in Brisbane, more than 30% of our international students have chosen to study in the regions. These students live, work and study across Queensland including the Gold Coast, Cairns, Townsville, Toowoomba and the Sunshine Coast.

    Many students have continued their studies online and need to return to campus to fulfill their study requirements. These students have made a financial commitment to Queensland, choosing to study in our state prior to COVID-19. Enabling these students to return fulfills our commitment to their student experience and career outcomes.

    As Queensland continues to respond to COVID-19, a strong international education and training sector is critical to the state's economic and social recovery. Prior to COVID-19, international education and training was Queensland’s second largest services export, contributing $5.8 billion to our state economy in 2019.

For more information

Contact us about Queensland’s quarantine network.

Last updated: 10 Nov 2021