Hotel quarantine in Queensland has officially come to an end with the final guest being released on Wednesday afternoon.
Travellers who are forced to quarantine in the future will now be sent to the purpose-built Wellcamp quarantine facility in Toowoomba.
More than 127,000 people have been put through hotel quarantine in the last two years.
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Of those, 77,000 were international travellers with the remainder domestic.
Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk says the system has been vital in the fight against COVID.
“Our hotel quarantine kept Queenslanders safe. During the two years of the pandemic, we really weathered the storm and our hotel quarantine played a huge part in that,” The Premier said.
But with quarantine rules easing across the state and country, the government has been forced to defend the use of Wellcamp amid claims it’s now a white elephant.
The facility currently has capacity for 500 guests which will be expanded to 1000.
But only 60 people have used it since it opened earlier this month.
Annastacia Palaszczuk insists there will be a range of uses for the camp in the future.
“First of all, we don’t know what outbreak’s going to happen next and where in the world, so there may be countries that may be deemed that will have to quarantine.
“Secondly, unvaccinated people who are flying into Queensland will come here. People who need to be isolated but can’t…that’s another cohort, but there’s also conversations happening with getting more workers into Queensland.”
There are also ongoing questions about how much the Wellcamp facility is costing Queensland taxpayers with reports the price tag is as high as $227 million.
The Premier has rejected that but still won’t reveal the true cost, arguing “commercial-in-confidence.”
“I don’t think that figure is exactly correct. What I will say is that my understanding is the total amount to build this facility is less than any other facility built in Australia.”
However, Ms Palaszczuk says she would consider revealing cost details if the Federal Government released the cost of building a separate quarantine facility near Brisbane Airport.
The state opposition has demanded the government end the secrecy now.
“Queenslanders deserve to know how much of their money the Premier has poured into the Wellcamp quarantine facility,” Shadow Finance Minister Jarrod Bleijie said.
“While the Premier hides behind commercial-in-confidence claims, the only thing Queenslanders can be confident about is that they cannot trust this government.”