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Australia Jandakot Airport chosen as site for 1,000-bed COVID-19 quarantine facility in Perth

10:05  31 july  2021
10:05  31 july  2021 Source:   abc.net.au

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Jandakot Airport, in Perth's south, has been chosen as the site of Western Australia's first purpose-built COVID-19 quarantine centre.

The federal government finalised its decision on the location of the 1,000-bed facility on Friday night.

Finance Minister Simon Birmingham said the facility — which is estimated to cost up to $400 million to build — could be operational in 2022.

"We'll be doing everything possible to make sure that we do get the new facility in Perth operational by early next year," he said.

Last month, Prime Minister Scott Morrison told WA Premier Mark McGowan he had been advised land at either Jandakot Airport or Perth Airport would be suitable for the facility.

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In a letter to Mr McGowan, Mr Morrison said the sites were a suitable size, had access to an international airport taking regularly scheduled international commercial passenger flights and were in proximity to a major hospital.

Senator Birmingham said Jandakot was favoured over Perth Airport for several reasons.

"Jandakot provides an opportunity to do it as quickly as possible and as efficiently as possible," he said.

"It had a number of aspects that were favoured in that regard, [including] noise management and acoustic management issues around the different airport precincts.

"Both [airports] have certain acoustic issues that have to be overcome and we will factor that in the designs of the individual modules that will be built and constructed for the quarantine accommodation facilities to provide some additional protection around noise management for individuals who are in there, but that can be done more effectively in Jandakot than in Perth."

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He said there were also fewer environmental issues to overcome at Jandakot Airport.

"My advice and understanding from the research that was undertaken at the sites and the comparisons is that there are fewer environmental or land management issues to overcome in terms of using the Jandakot site, especially in terms of the speed which we could get the approvals necessary to build the facilities on those sites and to do so with confidence that there wouldn't be unnecessary interruptions," he said.

Applying 'a sense of urgency': Birmingham

Mr McGowan had previously all but ruled out building new COVID-19 quarantine centres to replace hotels, arguing the solution of purpose-built Commonwealth facilities was "staring us in the face".

Last month, Mr McGowan said he was very happy with the Commonwealth's proposal for the site and he said he wanted construction to start as soon as possible.

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In a statement, the state government said it welcomed the findings of the feasibility study and looked forward to "continuing to work productively" with the federal government to open the facility "as soon as possible".

Senator Birmingham thanked the WA government for its cooperation during the site selection process.

He also announced the federal government was striving to open Melbourne's new quarantine facility by the end of the year.

"We've already selected a prime contractor; they've got staff on site, and they've got access to the site … so earthworks will commence shortly," he said.

"They've got contracts with a number of people who are building the modules that will create the new facility and will be applying that same sense of urgency to get the job done in Perth and in Brisbane.

"We're striving to have 500 [beds] by the end of this year, with a further 500 beds added after.

"We haven't made any final determinations in Perth yet, but it may be a similar path is taken to create an operational capability first and foremost and finish the job after."

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