Council’s View on the Quarantine Issue

Published on Thursday, 3 June 2021 at 5:00:00 PM

The City of Busselton has not been formally or even informally approached by any Government agency or Official about the potential establishment of a quarantine facility in the district.

Despite the Premier’s announcement that the City could be a feasible location for such a facility and the subsequent backing of the idea by the Minister for Health, Roger Cook earlier today, no discussions have been had and we are yet to have any understanding as to the seriousness of the proposal.

City of Busselton Mayor, Grant Henley said:

“The City appreciates that the quarantine issue is particularly topical at the moment and that there is a real need to look toward regional areas that are potentially less populous.   City of Busselton Council will always put the health and safety of its community first and is clear in its position that should such a proposal be seriously suggested, a great deal of consultation with the community would be needed to ensure their interests are considered.

We all want to see facilities built so that we can better deal with COVID. If, and only if, the Government could guarantee extremely strong protections for the community, the large FIFO workforce which uses the Busselton Margaret River Airport and the tens of thousands of visitors who flock to the district throughout the year, then Council may support the development in principle. But there are several impediments to such a proposal and of course any such facility built on airport land would need to be fully self-contained.”

While the Busselton Margaret River Airport does have the runway capacity to land long-haul passenger aircraft, it does not have terminal capacity. The City has been waiting for the State Government to release funding for the upgrade of a new domestic terminal, to date this has not been forthcoming. This would need to be expanded to cater for international arrivals.

In addition, if hospital facilities and medical facilities in the City of Busselton were needed to be used, they would probably need upgrading.

“I know there are strong concerns in the community about this proposal,” Mayor Henley said. “A lot more serious discussion would be needed to even entertain such a proposal progressing here. The City of Busselton is one of the State’s top holiday destinations with a new East-West air route soon to commence. We are also home to the largest FIFO workforce outside of metropolitan Perth. A lot more thought and consultation is needed on this matter.”

Objectives outlined in this statement are aligned with Key Goal Area 1 the City of Busselton’s Strategic Community Plan (Review 2019): A community that is welcoming, friendly and healthy.

 

Ends. Media enquiries can be directed to meredith.dixon@busselton.wa.gov.au

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