Tamworth will NOT host a quarantine facility
In a late evening statement, following strong community backlash, NSW Deputy Premier John Barilaro yesterday confirmed Tamworth will not host a quarantine hub and nor will any other regional area in NSW.
"The option of quarantining seasonal workers was looked at by NSW Health and NSW Police - but it posed too great a risk," a statement from Mr Barilaro's office said.
This comes after community members voiced their concerns and a petition, that reached over 1,100 signatures in 48 hours, called for the proposal to be quashed.
Tamworth MP Kevin Anderson who had publicly stated his opposition to the proposal said he passed on community feedback to the state government.
"I would like to thank the community for reaching out to me and letting me know your thoughts," Mr Andrson said in a statement on social media.
The proposal for a Tamworth quarantine facility was first mentioned by Federal Member for New England Barnaby Joyce in an interview with the Northern Daily Leader and later confirmed by Tamworth Regional Council.
The idea came about as a way to use the currently empty International Flight Training Facility and was backed up by the NSW Premier who was pleased with how Tamworth successfully hosted the NZ Warriors last year.
"Council approached both the NSW and Australian Governments seeking support to have the accommodation facilities used as a quarantine hub until international cadet pilots are allowed to return and start their flying instruction," said Tamworth Regional Council in a statement last week.
The lack of detailed information created concern amongst community members and strong backlash followed.
Deputy Premier John Barilaro confirmed the state government is still considering alternative quarantine options for seasonal workers.
"It is not important where seasonal workers quarantine but it is important that we get them here to assist our primary producers," said a statement from Mr Barilaro's office.