Feb 2021

Island quarantine heats up as mining camp proposal fails

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KENNEDY MP, Bob Katter is ramping up his crusade to see hotel quarantine moved from the major cities to regional areas like Dunk Island, following numerous outbreaks in capital cities over the past week.

Mr Katter says the Dunk Island quarantine proposal would prevent any further blows to state economies resulting from large scale lock downs and provide the Paradise Coast with an operational tourism drawcard, ready for guests, post-Covid.

Mr Katter has floated his proposal with the Prime Minister and Federal Health Minister and will hold further meetings in Canberra next week.

With Gladstone refusing to accommodate the quarantine mining camp proposition, Mr Katter spoke twice on the issue in Parliament last week, slamming the Queensland Premier’s response that the Island quarantine wouldn’t work due to cyclone activity.

“We've called upon the government to look at Dunk Island,” Mr Katter said in his 90 Second Statement.

“The present quarantine areas are in the rabbit warrens of the great cities of Australia. The last place on earth you should put a potential COVID patient is in Sydney, Melbourne, or Brisbane, and yet that is what the Queensland government are doing. They have their quarantine station in Brisbane.

“Dunk Island is currently uninhabited. With a little bit of money spent, there would be 100 rooms. It employed 200 people at the tourist resort. There's no-one at the tourist resort now. It could be used tomorrow. With 60 demountable buildings we could put 1,000 people a month through. We could bring 20,000 stranded Australians back to Australia…and get it working again.”

Mr Katter said the argument that Dunk Island wasn’t feasible due to cyclone and evacuation activity was a cop out and that the region is well versed in responding to extreme weather threats.

“Dunk Island has seen three major cyclones in 30 years – Winifred in 86, Larry in 06 and Yasi in 2011. This is a region that knows how to handle the countless tropical lows that sweep in and cyclones when they form – from the certified cyclone-proof builders down to construction in the wet season.

“The Premier could look at getting this started tomorrow. By the time they get the paperwork sorted, cyclone season will be over, construction can start and within a few weeks we take our first flights of returning Australians.

“Evacuations are easy because you get a few days’ notice in advance before a cyclone hits, unlike many other weather events, and this is an Island that in Winifred, didn’t evacuate staff or guests, and conducted smooth evacuations during Larry.

“It’s also short-sighted thinking from the Premier, as her Government is currently quarantining people at hotels on the Cairns Esplanade which would need to be evacuated in the event of a cyclone. So her argument against Dunk Island doesn’t hold water.

“But it is an uninhabited island. That is where you put people until you are sure that they haven't got COVID. Once clear, they can move in Australia.
“What could be better, than a two-week quarantine period at a beautiful North Queensland tropical island tourist resort?”

Contact Details

P: (07) 4061 6066
F: (07) 4061 6566
Visit: Cnr Edith and Owen St
Post: PO Box 1638
Innisfail, Qld 4860

Mount Isa
P: (07) 4743 3534
F: (07) 4743 0189
Visit: 42-44 Simpson St
Post: PO Box 2130
Mount Isa, Qld 4825

(when Parliament is sitting)
P: (02) 6277 4978
F: (02) 6277 8558

Local Call within the electorate
P: 1300 301 942

Email: Bob.Katter.MP@aph.gov.au