Queensland abandons controversial $220m Covid quarantine facility

The Queensland government has confirmed that it will not be renewing the lease for the Wellcamp Covid facility in Toowoomba, which has housed just 730 people in 12 months.

Queensland abandons controversial $220m Covid quarantine facility
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A 1000 bed quarantine facility that has housed just 730 people in 12 months at a cost of $220m will be ditched by the Queensland government.

A spokesperson for Queensland deputy premier Steven Miles confirmed this week that the lease for the Wellcamp Covid facility in Toowoomba would not be renewed when it expires next month.

“The facility remains available until the end of the current lease and following that, its future use will be determined by Wagner Corporation,' the spokesperson told the ABC.

The Palaszczuk government paid the family-owned Wagner Corporation $48.8m to construct Wellcamp on land owned by the Wagner family.

By the time rent and running costs were factored in for the facility which in February 2022, the total cost to taxpayers was well over $200m.

Health minister Yvette D'Ath defended the decision to build the centre in a press conference on Tuesday.

“Wellcamp is a really important facility that we needed to commit to,” she said. “We did what we needed to do.”

When the facility closes next month, it will have cost taxpayers more than $300,000 per person who quarantined there.

Wagner Corporation chairman John Wagner said that when the state government lease expired the camp would be used to house workers from the agriculture sector
“Some of these abattoirs just can't find accommodation for their workers that they bring into the country,” he said.

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  • By Avi Yemini

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