Barnaby Joyce wants to see Tamworth Flight Training Centre used as a quarantine hub for Aussies as they return from overseas.
The statement from the Federal MP came as he doubled down on his fight to get Aussies, like Tamworth-reared Phoebe MacKenzie, back home.
Over 700 people are currently on the waiting list requiring an eye surgeon in Tamworth, and the one ophthalmologist set to save us has had her flight cancelled from the UK, with no guaranteed alternative.
Dr MacKenzie, ne Moore, had to remain overseas to complete essential training even after the pandemic took hold two months into her stint in Bristol. Now she and her family are facing the prospect of destitution.
"We will be homeless, jobless, and visaless," she told the Leader.
"It's not like we were backpackers and decided not to come back to keep having fun ... this course wasn't available anywhere else and I had to complete it to carry out the work so desperately needed there in Tamworth," Dr MacKenzie explained.
She was set to take on the medical practice of her father, Dr David Moore, in March. He said the eye health of up to 700 people in the region depended on her arrival.
"This is the plight of so many people, but it's going to affect our region drastically," he said.
Some people just need routine care, but others even within one or two weeks without treatment, their eyesight would deteriorate and wouldn't be able to be returned.Dr David Moore
"Some people just need routine care, but others even within one or two weeks without treatment, their eyesight would deteriorate and wouldn't be able to be returned."
She and her family had borrowed money to book flights months in advance, but Australia "without notice" cut quarantine caps in half two weeks ago, triggering the cancellation of her flight with Singapore Airlines.
While wanting the caps "lifted to a reasonable level" for all those in her position, Dr MacKenzie has written to Federal Health Minister Greg Hunt and Premier Gladys Berejiklian to get a personal exemption.
She's also written to Mr Joyce, and encouraged his constituents and Tamworth residents to write and lobby him to bring her home too.
"I should be able to get on a flight without anyone else being bumped off," she hoped.
Quarantine hub here
Mr Joyce, who received Dr MacKenzie's email on Saturday, told the Leader he was working "very hard" behind the scenes even before her letter arrived in his inbox.
"I'll be doing everything we can do get Phoebe back, as I did working to secure the senior ophthalmologist position in Tamworth," he said.
The Leader recently covered the push to secure desperately needed eye specialists for the region, with the position of one ophthalmologist secured for another six months.
"Noone wants to be without sight, so it's very important we get this right," Mr Joyce said.
Part of Mr Joyce's plan is to turn Tamworth's Flight Training Centre into a quarantine location, increasing the capped numbers allowed back into the country while also giving the country music capital another income stream.
"We don't have to build [a quarantine site] when we have one here, and it's far enough out of town that's its perfectly sited," he said.
"On my part I'm trying to make Tamworth part of the solution, give us an income stream ... this would be us doing our bit."
After the pandemic, he said the centre could then be pushed for use as a place to store goods in need of quarantine after international transportation.