The federal & state governments have appointed Multiplex to construct the $200 million quarantine facility at Mickleham in Melbourne’s north.
Multiplex was chosen over a consortium of BESIX Watpac and Lendlease.
Construction on the 1000-bed facility will commence in August, with the view to have 500 beds available by the end of the year, operating at full capacity in 2022.
“This is another step in our ongoing management of the Covid-19 pandemic and increases our ability to continue to safely return travellers into Australia for any ongoing quarantine requirements,” Finance Minister Simon Birmingham said.
Mickleham, the state government’s preferred location, was chosen despite the federal government’s preference for a site at Avalon.
It is estimated that the Mickleham facility can be built between 3 and 9 months faster than Avalon, which was also overlooked due to concerns surrounding the impact on nearby protected wetlands, lack of proper sewerage and the presence of toxic chemical PFAS.
The facility has been designed to suit a number of purposes beyond the pandemic, including to be used as emergency housing in the event of bushfires.
The facility was approved by the federal and state governments last month, and has been modelled on the Howard Springs quarantine centre in the Northern Territory.
The Prime Minister said all efforts would be made to ensure the facility is open by the end of the year.
“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,” he said.
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Image Source: Herald Sun
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