A video says the Queensland premier plans to put unvaccinated Australians into quarantine camps built for that purpose, further suggesting people could be arrested and placed in the facilities as part of a purported scheme.
However, the misleading claim is based on a selectively edited clip of Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk discussing the use of quarantine facilities for returned travellers and international arrivals. There is no suggestion in the interview or elsewhere that the facilities will be used to house unvaccinated people more generally.
“She just admitted she is building quarantine camps for the unvaccinated. Are you going to come and arrest us? Put us into camps? Is that where we’re headed?,” he says.
But an unedited version of Ms Palaszczuk’s comments, made during an interview on Channel 7’s Sunrise program on October 19, shows they were made in the context of people arriving in Queensland and being required to undergo quarantine.
“I think regional quarantine facilities are going to be needed into the future. We can’t predict what’s going to happen but there may be a country that’s declared a red spot or a no-go zone area and we may need to bring people back from those different countries,” she said.
“And they will need to be chartered in, it’s no different to what we saw, what we have seen during this pandemic. We’ll also need it for unvaccinated people, we’ll also need it for people who are international students who are looking at doing labour for our farmers,” she said.
In a press conference on the previous day, Ms Palaszczuk made it clear that the facility would be used for unvaccinated people entering the state who were still subject to quarantine requirements.
“There’s still travellers that may be unvaccinated who come in and they’ll need to do the full quarantine,” she said (video mark 26min 47sec). Similar comments were highlighted in subsequent news reports.
The press conference came as Ms Palaszczuk unveiled Queensland’s plan to allow fully vaccinated travellers to enter the state from declared COVID-19 hotspots without undergoing quarantine once 80 per cent of the state’s eligible population was fully vaccinated.
Under the same plan, those who did not meet the criteria – such as the unvaccinated – would still be required to undergo quarantine “in a government-nominated facility”.
In a Queensland government press release on August 26, the premier said the 1000-bed, dedicated facility near Wellcamp airport would be an alternative to hotel quarantine – in a more secure, purpose-built facility.
The state government also explains the rationale for Wellcamp on its State Development website: “Hotels were not built for the purpose of quarantine and as such, we have seen outbreaks from hotel quarantine in almost all jurisdictions.”
The website’s “project overview” lists “returning international and interstate travellers” as those who will go to the Toowoomba site. There is no mention in any of the sources of the facility being used to house unvaccinated people in general.
In an email to AAP FactCheck, a Queensland government spokesman said the government planned “to use Wellcamp for vaccinated international students and seasonal workers, as well as returning international travellers.”
He highlighted that there would also continue to be quarantine requirements for unvaccinated domestic travellers travelling from hotspots, as outlined in the state’s plan for eased border restrictions.
Mandatory two-week quarantine was introduced for all travellers entering Australia on March 28, 2020, although the requirement ended for the fully vaccinated entering New South Wales from overseas from November 1.
AAP FactCheck has previously debunked social media posts falsely claiming that Australians who were not fully vaccinated for COVID-19 by the end of 2021 would be put into isolation camps while the claim about Queensland has been fact checked here.
The video misleadingly claims that the Queensland government is building quarantine camps for the unvaccinated. In fact, the purpose-built facility at Wellcamp will only be used to house unvaccinated travellers entering the state from designated COVID-19 hotspots while they undergo mandatory quarantine. The same facility is also intended to be used for some vaccinated entrants such as international students and seasonal workers.
Misleading – The claim is accurate in parts but information has also been presented incorrectly, out of context or omitted.