The Victorian Labor Government has announced that the state’s first Victorian Quarantine Hub (VQH) at Mickleham, will be opening on Monday to receive its first residents as the borders re-open.
The VQH is a jointly funded project between the Commonwealth and Labor Victoria under the plan for Centres for National Resilience, a project between the federal government and all the Labor States.
The facility is set to accommodate 1000 people with a major focus on ventilation and infection control and is expected to replace hotel quarantine in Victoria as of March. No private security will be onsite, but 30 police officers will be patrolling the facility 24 hours a day.
Unvaccinated, or not fully vaccinated travellers will need to stay for seven days at the facility, costing $1500 for an adult, $500 for an additional adult, and $250 for children for the isolation period but frontline workers and people that cannot self-isolate at home can stay for free.
With ten people expected to check-in on Feb. 21 and COVID-19 case numbers are expected to fall, the Police Minister Lisa Neville nevertheless reassured that the facility would still be important in the future.
“I think that this will be a resource that we will always look back on and say what a great investment from the Commonwealth and state government,” she said.
Neville promised that running quarantine hubs will be “much cheaper” than continuing with hotel quarantine with their data speculating that hotel quarantine could cost $3.5 billion (pdf) if continued for the next three years.
The Victorian government funded the initial 15 million into the Mickleham facility for planning and designing with the federal government funding the remaining costs.
The facility was originally estimated at a development cost of $200 million. However, federal Finance Minister Simon Birmingham announced on Feb. 11 that the facility is expected to cost 580 million in total.
Apart from the Melbourne facility, Centres for National Resilience (CNR) are also being built in Pinkenba, Queensland and Bullsbrook, Western Australia. Currently, $821 million has been invested in the three facilities by the federal government with the total project cost estimated to be at around $1.3 billion.
The plan for the CNR is modelled after the Howard Springs CNR facility in Labor Northern Territory, considered to be “the safest and most functional design for quarantine in Australia.”
Whilst the Pinkenba facility is in development, the QLD government announced the opening of another quarantine facility in Wellcamp funded solely by the state on Feb. 16.
The accommodation is a 500-bed facility and set to quarantine unvaccinated travellers, international students, seasonal workers with another 500 beds expected to be ready by early April, the QLD government has not disclosed the cost in the development of the facility.