SA Opposition Leader Peter Malinauskas has written to Premier Marshall, urging him to ask Prime Minister Scott Morrison to begin “immediate Commonwealth-led exploration of alternative solutions for the repatriation of Australian citizens”.
In a statement on social media on Sunday morning, he said that although his party had given bipartisan support to many of the state’s coronavirus measures, he could no longer “stand by and support the continued acceptance of international arrivals into South Australian medi-hotels”.
“Furthermore, until an alternative solution is found, the international student trial via South Australian medi-hotels should also not go ahead,” Mr Malinauskas said.
“Given the experience of medi-hotel failure in Melbourne and now Adelaide, we definitively know that placing international arrivals (infected with COVID-19) in CBD accommodation with subcontracted private security simply does not work.”
South Australia’s recent Parafield cluster, in Adelaide’s north, was seeded from a hotel for quarantining travellers where a security guard became infected and spread the virus into the community.
Mr Marshall and the state’s Chief Public Health Officer, Professor Nicola Spurrier, strongly rejected Mr Malinauskas’ demand.
“It makes no sense whatsoever. We don’t have 1200 rooms in Woomera or Christmas Island to pop up with a quarantine hotel, let alone the staff, let alone building the hospital alongside it,” the Premier said.
“I think this is just a blatant attempt, quite frankly, at pushing fear and division. I, quite frankly, find it disgusting that Peter Malinauskas thinks South Australians returning from overseas, or those returning from Victoria to do their quarantine, should be put in a detention-style quarantine centre on Christmas Island or Woomera.”
Professor Spurrier defended the performance of the hotels, and said moving a quarantine facility into the outback was extremely difficult logistically and posed risks to vulnerable Indigenous communities.
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