Why Cairns is Premier’s first choice for quarantine hub
CAIRNS could take in all of Queensland's new quarantine arrivals after Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk agreed to accept 500 more overseas Australians per week.
The Premier announced she was looking at "mainly Cairns and Brisbane" to take in the increased quarantine intake in an effort to bring home more than 25,000 Australians stranded abroad.
"We're looking at some hotels in Cairns, we know the Cairns economy has been doing it quite tough," she said.
DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel Cairns has put its hand up to become a quarantine hub after months of closure.
The hotel's general manager Scott Wilson said he was aware of the plan but no deal had been struck.
Leichhardt MP Warren Entsch said Cairns now had the capacity to take in every single one of the state's 500 extra quarantine arrivals per week.
"And if there's an overflow, they can go to Port Douglas," he said.
"There are a lot of big unit blocks in Port Douglas that are very keen.
"I guarantee they will enjoy our hospitality, our climate and the food we have to offer a lot more than they will enjoy anything down south.
"After two weeks, they won't want to leave.
"Particularly if they're from Melbourne, I can guarantee they will stay a long time after."
Ms Palaszczuk said the state had to be very careful in how it handled the new responsibility.
"We have been doing an excellent job here in Queensland but nobody wants to see what happened in Victoria happen anywhere else," she said.
"We've got a large number of cases happening overseas where Covid is more prevalent so there is a higher risk. So we need to mitigate that risk.
"So the next week gives us time to speak to hotel chains out there."
She said there would be a call for expressions of interest.
"We also have an option of Gladstone as well, which we're working through," she said.
Originally published as Why Cairns is Premier's first choice for quarantine hub