The Victorian Government is examining alternative models of mandatory quarantine, including a purpose-built accommodation hub outside of the CBD to reduce the risk of coronavirus spreading into the community.
A team of senior government officials are well advanced on planning work that will include investigating parcels of land near Avalon and Melbourne airports that could be used to construct bespoke, stand-alone accommodation hubs.
Avalon Airport boss Justin Giddings has submitted a proposal to the State Government for a facility to be rapidly built on the grounds of the airport, which could house upwards of 300 standalone cabins.
The 800 hectare parcel of land earmarked for the Avalon centre is a significant distance from the airport’s domestic terminal, meaning it could still safely operate. It is also a safe distance from the Cotton On Group’s Avalon depot.
The first cabins could be erected in as little at 30 days once given the green light by the state government.
G21 has long championed Avalon Airport, and as a Priority Project, supports opportunities for Avalon’s development.
Based on early advice from public health experts and COVID-19 Quarantine Victoria, the following specifications will be important in the design of any such hub:
- Flat structures (not multi-storey) that are adequately spaced
- Designs that allow for strict Infection Prevention Control (IPC) protocols that are already in place in the existing program
- Individual rooms that cater to a variety of family sizes with self-contained bathroom facilities
- High quality or separate ventilation systems per room, including the use of windows
- Surfaces that are easily cleaned, to enable the highest standard of IPC protocols, and
- Separate and adequately sized staff facilities
Any hub of this kind could also be used for future emergency accommodation needs, including ongoing quarantine arrangements or bushfire emergency accommodation.
As part of the planning work, the government has sent a delegation to Howard Springs in the Northern Territory to examine the quarantine facility there.
The work will also consider whether any new accommodation should be used in conjunction with hotel quarantine locations in the CBD, or as a stand-alone facility for the whole program.