One of the Covid quarantine centres operated by the federal government has shut down, costing taxpayers hundreds of millions of dollars.
The quarantine facility in Mickleham, 40 km north of Melbourne, known as the Center for National Resilience, will shut the next week, it was revealed on Tuesday.
Since it opened in February, the $580 million facility has only held 2,168 individuals, costing more than $267,000 every person who underwent quarantine.
It comes after the cancellation of a second federally sponsored hub at Pinkenba in Brisbane and a $400 million, unfinished hub at Bullsbrook, Washington.
The facility will be appropriately shut down by a limited crew until it is returned to the federal authorities.
Host of the morning show on Sydney’s 2GB The closure was denounced by Ben Fordham as a “waste of money.”
He said on Facebook, “I’ll tell you what, we’ve wasted some money during Covid but this is genuinely next level.”
Why on earth would we start operating coronavirus hubs two years after the outbreak began?
They MIGHT have come in useful in 2020. Not now.
Online indignation over the closure has been intense, with many asking why the building can’t be converted into social housing or emergency shelters rather than being vacant.
The center was described as “an awful f***ing waste of money” by Australian TikToker Beccy Jane.
Since they are unable to pay rent at the present due to the high interest rates, she said, why not build suitable housing for the homeless people who are living on the streets instead of just shutting it down?
I’m not sure, but that makes logic to me. Does it not?
It happens just after the Queensland government said it will close two multimillion dollar quarantine facilities.
The $400 million Pinkenba Centre for National Resilience, which the Federal Government had intended to build, was declared to be “no longer necessary” by the Queensland Government in July.
Australian taxpayers paid the hundreds of millions needed to finish the facility.
The only federally sponsored center that ultimately opened was the Melbourne facility, costing taxpayers worldwide a total of $1.3 billion to house only 2,168 people.
The $200 million facility in Wellcamp near Toowoomba, paid for by Queensland taxpayers, was shut down by the state of Queensland in July after just five months of operation.
Anthony Carbines, the minister of police for Victoria, justified the building of the soon-to-be-closed quarantine facility in Melbourne by arguing that it may one day be needed in an emergency.
The goal of the Victorian Quarantine Hub in protecting Victorians against Covid-19 has been achieved. Our progress in recovering from the epidemic has advanced with its closing, he added.
Australia needed these facilities before the epidemic struck, but they are now available as a precaution against a possible future pandemic and as a place to stay in case of crises like natural catastrophes.
In late 2021, the Morrison administration unpopularly revealed plans to build three quarantine facilities with funding from the federal government.
Many Australians criticized the decision, pointing out that the epidemic had already mostly ended and that quarantine regulations would probably have changed by the time the centers opened.
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