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Top Doctor Slams Australia's 'Faulty' Hotel Quarantine System

The head of the doctors' association in Western Australia has slammed state and federal governments for persisting with "faulty" hotel quarantine.

Australian Medical Association state president Andrew Miller said innocent people who were arriving without coronavirus were being infected in quarantine.

Dr Miller described the system as an abuse of human rights.

"The issue is that hotel quarantine isn't fit for purpose," he told ABC radio on Monday.

Dr Miller said federal experts were being "grossly negligent" and urgent change was needed.

"Hotels cannot be made safe for COVID-19 positive people," he said.

"Governments need to put money into building mining camps - I'm told it can be done within a couple of months. Put everyone into N95 masks tomorrow. It's all low-hanging fruit, frankly."

The WA state and federal government are in open warfare over who is responsible for hotel quarantine.

WA Premier Mark McGowan wants the federal government to open military bases and Christmas Island to quarantine overseas travellers.

Defence Minister Peter Dutton has pushed back against the idea, saying such facilities are not fit for purpose. But Christmas Island was used in March and April last year for people returning from China and Japan.

The federal opposition backed up calls for the Commonwealth to do more.

"We need dedicated facilities built outside our central business districts, purpose built for quarantine," Labor health spokesman Mark Butler told reporters.

"We know hotels are built for tourism, not medical quarantine. Our quarantine system is in a mess. Scott Morrison has got to stop pretending that it's not his job to fix it."

Federal government frontbencher Dan Tehan defended the Commonwealth's record, pointing to its contribution to the Howard Springs quarantine facility in the Northern Territory. The camp is being expanded to take more passengers from overseas.

Mr Tehan argued the best way to resolve federal-state tensions was around the national cabinet table, not through the media.

Mr McGowan has also criticised the Commonwealth for allowing so many people to leave the country during the pandemic, placing unnecessary strain on hotel quarantine upon their return.

NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian said public sentiment was against allowing Australians to head overseas for social events.

A three-day lockdown in Western Australia has been pinned on an infected returned traveller who went to India for a wedding.

"Public sentiment would say that you should only really be leaving our shores if you absolutely have to," Ms Berejiklian said.

But she also argued states must pull their weight in helping Australians return from overseas, arguing NSW has done more than its share regarding hotel quarantine.

The NSW premier wants quarantine places determined by the population of each state.

"We have been doing the heavy lifting in New South Wales since the quarantine system has been put in place," Ms Berejiklian said.

She said states needed to continue co-operating through national cabinet.

Mr McGowan is weighing up whether to extend the state's lockdown, which is due to end at midnight on Monday.