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Wellcamp quarantine facility - Queensland Regional Accommodation Centre

Project overview

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

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

This facility will reduce reliance on the hotel quarantine system and the risk of 'leakage' and community lockdowns.

Delivery of the facility will be in 2 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 planning and approvals process is progressing in liaison with key stakeholders, including Toowoomba Regional Council.

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.

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

Nov 2021

Certification of facility
Operational planning access available

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. The Queensland Government will operate both the Wellcamp and Pinkenba facilities.

Future uses

There are many possible additional uses for the facility, such as accommodation for international students or agricultural workers and these are being considered.

Frequently asked questions

Quarantine management in Queensland

  • The Queensland Government considers safety and protecting our health the most important step in our progress towards bringing Queenslanders home and economic recovery. Quarantine facilities will continue to play a role in the broader quarantine management approach for the State which will include a range of measures to reduce risk to the community.

    Our hotel quarantine system is no longer giving Queenslanders the protection we need and are not fit-for-purpose facilities in Australia. We must also prepare 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 for safer alternatives and more flexibility to respond to emerging issues. It 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 will continue to work collaboratively to progress the Commonwealth’s Pinkenba facility as well, providing a network of quarantine options to get returning Australians home safer and as quickly as possible.

  • Home quarantining is a possibility we’ll consider but it won’t be for everyone and will depend on who’s in their household and what choices they have for local accommodation.

    We will be closely monitoring home quarantine trials currently being conducted in some other states and remain open to incorporating alternatives proven to be safe and low risk to the community.

  • Having fit-for-purpose facilities will reduce the need for hotel quarantining.

  • There’s many variables to take into account to determine ongoing demand for the quarantine facility and these include not only vaccination levels in Australia but also abroad. We also have to think about what happens if there’s another variant after Delta. For the foreseeable future, quarantine facilities will be part of the COVID response.

  • 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 biggest cost for Queensland will be if we don’t have fit-for-purpose quarantine facilities operating as soon as possible.

    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.

    We are finalising the design elements with Wagners to make sure that we consider all of the health, security and wellbeing aspects of the facility to ensure that it keeps Queenslanders safe.

  • 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 will benefit from this.

    We are working through the optimal operating model with our Government agency partners, taking into account the benefits that this may create for longer term jobs.

  • The Queensland Government will continue to work collaboratively to progress the Commonwealth’s Pinkenba facility but we need more options to get returning Australians back home safer.

    The best way to do this is to also have a fit-for-purpose regional facility that is also outside the Southeast corner where we have seen lockdowns impact services like hospitals. The Toowoomba site provides vital capacity as part of a quarantine network should future lock downs occur.

  • 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. It also means we will have both regional and a 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 facility will be delivered for use by the end of December 2021.

  • The facility will have a 1000-bed capacity but it will be scalable, so the capacity can be increased if necessary to meet any additional demand.

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

  • The Queensland Regional Accommodation Centre will give us more capacity for safer alternatives to 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.

  • The use of the site for quarantining will be determined as we continue with the COVID response, including other possible uses for the facility, such as quarantine accommodation for international students or agricultural workers.

  • 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 site issues with a range of project stakeholders. In keeping with our successful COVID response, we’ll ensure community health and safety remains our top priority.

Community and health impacts

  • We’ll be working through issues with a range of stakeholders. In keeping with our successful COVID response, we’ll ensure community health and safety remains our top priority.

  • 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 protocols that will be followed and continue to be improved. We have modelled the facility approach on 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 cases that need to be transferred will be transported to a designated COVID-19 hospital 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. An effective quarantine process is paramount to our COVID response.

    As part of designing the facilities 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 security standards as comparable quarantine facilities such as Howard Springs – Centre for National Resilience.

    Wellcamp is outside of Toowoomba – approximately 18 kilometres away – so there’s a significant buffer, along with the design elements to ensure that the facility is secure and controlled

    We are still working through 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 Wellcamp facility 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 response.

    Should a community outbreak occur in the facility or surrounding community and lockdown be required, it will be handled according to the current method for handling outbreaks with a decision to be made by the Chief Health Officer.

    The Wellcamp facility will have the same infection control and security standards as comparable quarantine facilities, for example, Howard Springs — which hasn’t experienced a community outbreak.

    For all the latest information on the COVID situation 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 suppliers 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 (SMEs) 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 will mean a 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 Wellcamp and Damascus.

  • 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: 06 Oct 2021