SA Opposition questions quarantine quarters
A quarantine quarrel has emerged over the queue of international students requesting study in SA and a state government confirmation it has been enquiring about possible special quarters for the students at Parafield Airport.
SA Labor shadow minister for health Chris Picton has queried the Marshall government's quarantine focus on Monday morning after the Premier confirmed it was exploring with the federal government special arrangements to bring international students into the state.
Labor lamented the lack of a state government commitment to a dedicated facility to replace medi-hotel arrangements, with Mr Picton saying:
"Steven Marshall needs to front cameras today and answer one simple question - if we can open a dedicated facility for students, why can’t we open one for everyone and move away from risky medi hotels?
"There have been multiple failures of hotel quarantine in South Australia and around the country - we cannot risk another outbreak putting our community at risk.
"If Steven Marshall had decided to start work on a dedicated facility back in November, it is likely one could have been opened by now."
The current Victorian lockdown - the state's fourth - was triggered in part by a Victorian resident returning from India via South Australia's Playford Hotel medi-hotel and contracting COVID-19 there from another guest.
With the university sector eager to see the resumption of the lucrative international student market, the Marshall government announced it would seek to establish a quarantine hub at Parafield Airport, in Adelaide's northern suburbs, for international students. Premier Marshall said in a statement:
"The health and safety of South Australians is our number one priority, and this plan to get international students back ensures that priority remains paramount, while supporting our international education sector and the thousands of jobs it underpins as SA’s largest services export."
Minister for Trade and Investment Stephen Patterson said:
"International education is a significant part of South Australia’s economy, contributing over $2 billion in 2019, partly spent with our education providers such as schools and Universities, and also providing a boost to our retail, hospitality and tourism sectors."
The Marshall government have indicated that the universities and students would bear the cost of flights and quarantine to come into the dedicated facility.
The state government also claims that medi-hotels have a greater capacity to bring more people into the state than would be possible if they were replaced with a dedicated quarantine facility.