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Thursday, 25 February 2021
Page: 45


Ms BUTLER (Griffith) (13:47): Quarantine is a federal responsibility but, as with so many matters, the Prime Minister is shirking his responsibility. He doesn't hold a hose, mate! And, when it comes to keeping Australians safe, he simply leaves it to others. He's dodged his quarantine duties, and it has fallen to the states to pick up the slack. In my state of Queensland, the Palaszczuk Labor government have been doing just that. They've been managing quarantine, and they've even partnered with Wagners to develop a proposal for a national quarantine centre at the Wellcamp Airport at Toowoomba. It would accommodate up to 1,000 returning Australians currently stranded overseas, plus 300 staff. The Morrison government has failed to act on the proposal.

To add insult to injury, the Prime Minister has given the go-ahead for New South Wales to bill Queenslanders $30 million for quarantine even though it's a 100 per cent federal responsibility. Deputy Premier Steven Miles said of the Prime Minister:

Scott Morrison is like a school bully telling us we have to give our lunch money to New South Wales.

He's further said:

… we will not be paying that bill, not while the Commonwealth refuses to endorse our plan for a national quarantine centre.

It's time for the missing-in-action Prime Minister to take some responsibility and do his job to keep Australians safe, and it's time for the people on that side of the chamber to stop trying to shirk their responsibilities for quarantine as well. Do your job, Prime Minister. Protect Australians. Stop saying, 'I don't hold a hose, mate,' when it comes to people's safety.