By Rebecca Peppiatt
WHILE construction kicks off on a new 1000-bed quarantine facility in Bullsbrook, nearby residents are labelling it “the concentration camp” and are furious they have yet to be consulted over the decision to put it in their backyard.
Officially called the Centre for National Resilience, Finance Minister Simon Birmingham was in the area last week to launch the start of the build with Defence Minister Melissa Price and City of Swan Mayor Kevin Bailey.
“From today, construction activities will now ramp-up to turn this centre into a reality, with the aim to have the first 500 beds completed within the first quarter of next year,” Mr Birmingham said.
“We fully expect this centre will help support the safe return of international travellers into Western Australia where there are any ongoing short-term quarantine requirements.”
The facility will sit on vacant Defence Force land near the Pearce Air Force base between Tonkin Highway and Della North Road, close to Gallagher and West Roads.
Members of the Bullsbrook Residents and Ratepayers Association (BRRA) say it has been “inflicted” on them.
“BRRA is still very disappointed that this has been done with no consultation with the local people,” vice president Craig Hollett said.
“It’s just, here you go, this is what we’re doing and you’re going to have to live with it.”
Mr Hollett said nearby residents have been given “no opportunity to have any input whatsoever” but has been told there will be information meetings starting shortly.
“They’re running roughshod over everybody,” he said.
“We’ve been denied the opportunity to give feedback.”
Mr Hollett said there were many questions still unanswered about the long term effect of having such a facility so close to their community.
“Is it going to be a concentration camp?” he said.
“Are people going to be wandering around Bullsbrook with masks on?
“We just don’t know because we haven’t been told anything.”
The centre will be constructed and owned by the Commonwealth but will be operated by the WA Government for the duration of the COVID-19 pandemic.