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Hub for Christmas: FNQ touted as quarantine option for returning Australians

Far North Queensland may become a ‘quarantine hub’ in an effort to assist stranded Australians to return home from overseas in time for Christmas.

Federal MP of Far North Queensland, Warren Entsch said Cairns was well positioned to become a quarantine hub as there is an international airport as well as many empty hotels due to travel restrictions.

"We already have hotels here that are operating as quarantine hubs — they've got the experience,” Entsch said.

"They have never had a problem, they have worked exceptionally well.

"This move would re-create jobs."

Chief executive of Queensland Hotels Association Bernie Hogan said choosing to make Cairns a quarantine hub would provide a much needed boost for the region by allowing Queenslanders who work in the hotel industry to return to work.

Doing so would also help those working in the food preparation and transport services associated with the hotel industry. 

"It is a decision [individual operators] have to make, and it will be widely considered, I'd say, by the hotel industries.

"It may not be the typical guests or patrons that they're used to, but they're large, long-term contracts that would obviously help those hotels that are able to secure them." 

Peter Dutton, Home Affairs Minister said in order to allow more Australians to re-enter the country, states need to up their quarantine capacity. This comes after the July decision to cap international arrivals at 4000 people per week.

The current arrangement is for anyone returning from overseas to quarantine for 14 days at a hotel and pay out of their own pocket.




Irit Jackson, 16th August 2020