The Commonwealth is still considering Victoria’s proposal for a purpose-built COVID-19 quarantine facility, according to federal Treasurer Josh Frydenberg.
The proposed $200 million facility at Mickleham north of Melbourne remains a political football, with Victorian Health Minister Martin Foley criticising the federal government for not committing funds to it in Tuesday’s budget.
Victoria last month proposed a 500-bed facility, worth $200 million, and wants the Commonwealth to fund and build it.
The state would provide $15 million for design of the centre and also operate it.
“The Victorian government has put to the Morrison government a proposal and that is going through the normal processes,” Mr Frydenberg told 3AW on Wednesday morning.
“We will give it the proper due consideration.
“There has been a large number of people who have come through our system and outside Victoria, it has worked very effectively.
“Victoria unfortunately was a disaster (last year) with the quarantine failure – improvements have been made since then.”
Victorian Health Minister Martin Foley was unimpressed that the federal budget did not earmark funds for the proposed facility.
“We’re very disappointed that the Commonwealth hasn’t stumped up, it would appear, to help get us through the global pandemic, keeping our borders safe,” he told ABC Radio.
“Victoria and all the states have stepped in to make sure hotel quarantine is delivered.”
Prime Minister Scott Morrison also said earlier on Wednesday the Victorian proposal was “very comprehensive” and that his government was working on it with the state government.
Victoria’s latest infection – a man who had returned from international travel via quarantine in SA – again fuelled criticisms of Australia’s hotel quarantine system.