Friday, June 21, 2024

Hume council seeks safety assurances amid planning for COVID-19 quarantine facility

Hume City Council has called on the Victorian and Commonwealth governments to engage closely with the community ahead of planning and construction of a new 1,000-bed dedicated COVID-19 quarantine facility in Mickleham.

Hume Mayor, Joseph Haweil said there were a number of important questions the community needed answered to – most importantly, how the community’s health and wellbeing will be protected.

“It is vital that Council and our residents are consulted and engaged with throughout the planning and build of the facility – and that concerns are heard, respected and appropriately addressed,” Mayor Haweil.

Council says that while details of the facility’s impact on local infrastructure have not been made available, it anticipates that the facility will add further strain to critical arterial road infrastructure already experiencing immense growth pressures.

Mayor Haweil said Mickleham was Australia’s fastest-growing suburb – welcoming 3,000 new residents in 2020 and part of a growth corridor undergoing some of the fastest growth in Australia.

“We call on the Victorian and Australian Governments to invest in urgently needed roads infrastructure to support the growth in the Melbourne’s north and the additional impact this new facility will have on traffic volumes and congestion of our roads,” he said.

“With Hume City and its people being called on to do the heavy lifting in rebuilding the economy and opening up the state and nation, they can reasonably expect that long-standing advocacy on the duplication of Mickleham and Donnybrook Roads sees results.”

Mayor Haweil said Council would continue to advocate for more investment in Melbourne’s north and in ensuring the safety and wellbeing of the community.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison has said he hoped the 1,000-bed facility – estimated to cost around $500 million – would be built before the end of the year.

The plan for the facility is based on the Howard Springs quarantine centre in the Northern Territory, which features self-contained cabins to reduce transmission risk.

“On completion of the first stages, a facility with a 1,000-bed capacity will increase the number of Australians that can return to Australia and provide options to assist in our economic recovery by enabling arrivals of international students, skilled migrants and other economic intakes into the medium term,” Mr Morrison said.

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