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The Commonwealth and Western Australia (WA) Government have entered into an agreement to build a 1,000-bed purpose-built quarantine and emergency response facility in WA.

This agreement makes the Commonwealth responsible for financing the facility’s construction.

Responsibility for operating the facility and bearing all operational costs during the Covid-19 pandemic will be with the WA government.

Australia Finance Minister Simon Birmingham said: “This agreement paves the way for a purpose-built quarantine and emergency response facility to be built in Western Australia.

“It will increase our ability to respond to future emergencies or disasters, including the continued management of the COVID-19 pandemic into next year.

“The project will also create jobs in the state, support economic recovery and provide an enduring asset to enhance the state’s medium and long-term capability to respond to future natural disasters or future health crises in the years to come.”

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Birmingham further stated that the new facility will aid the safe management of international arrivals into WA.

The government aims to create the first 500 beds by the end of March next year.

With this new agreement, Australia will now have four dedicated quarantine and emergency response facilities in the Northern Territory, Victoria, Queensland and Western Australia.

WA Premier Mark McGowan said: “WA has always stood ready to support the Commonwealth to deliver on its proposal for a dedicated quarantine facility to ensure more Australians can safely return to our shores following the devastating impacts of the global Covid-19 pandemic.

“Over the past year and a half, we’ve had to introduce a range of measures, including hotel quarantine, to crush and kill the virus and to keep COVID out of WA.

“We look forward to this Commonwealth facility progressing as quickly as possible, to help keep WA safe.”