PROJECTS Paringa Quarantine Facility

Photo: ABC News, Anita Ward

Perimeter security system for Paringa Quarantine Facility – Secure Technologies

The closure of Australia’s international borders in 2020 and 2021, resulted in a dire shortage of seasonal overseas workers for South Australia’s billion-dollar annual fruit and vegetable harvest. This critical situation led the state government, through its Department of Primary Industries, to repurpose a regional tourist resort and temporarily convert it into a dedicated, highly secure quarantine accommodation facility for low-risk contractors arriving under the Commonwealth Seasonal Worker Programme, with new arrivals expected every 14 days.

Balancing the urgent requirements of industry and the importance of minimising the risk of virus escaping into the local community, the department contracted Sturdie Secure Technologies to design, engineer, and install reliable and effective multi-platform integrated security technology – all within a very tight timeframe.

The project

Designing and installing a high-tech perimeter security system at a converted tourist resort to maximise the integrity of a 5,000sqm quarantine accommodation facility for overseas agricultural workers, at Paringa in the state’s ‘fruit bowl’.

The challenges

  • Tight two-week deadline. The need for suitable security solutions was urgent, as the harvest season was looming and seasonal workers needed to be accommodated as soon as possible.
  • Regional location. Paringa is a three-hour drive from Adelaide where most of the technical, engineering and installation personnel live and work.
  • Efficient use of resources. The system outcome needed to minimise the number of on-site or nearby security staff, whilst still maintaining the highest level of monitoring, alert and response capabilities.
  • Multi-platform integration. The solution had to be highly-responsive to different scenarios, and capable of using and integrating different monitoring methods to facilitate rapid response to potential breaches.

The approach

The Sturdie Secure Technologies division pivoted key in-house personnel – including design engineers, technology specialists and service estimators – to create a bespoke solution that could be rapidly deployed to a regional location in a time- and cost-effective manner.

We assessed the suitability of different options, taking into account the availability of hardware, software and tech support, the existing and proposed infrastructure on site, the unique needs of the

project, and the ability to adjust the system if necessary, and quickly and easily decommission it at the conclusion of the project.

The solution

  • In-house design and engineering. Having a specialist team already in house allowed us to select, design and deploy efficient, state-of-the-art security technologies to the Paringa Quarantine Facility, within a very short timeframe.
  • Collaborative approach. Our designers and planners worked closely with a specialist group of stakeholders, including the Department of Primary Industries, SA Health and SA Police, to ensure that the system we delivered addressed the demands of each agency and not only met their expectations, but exceeded them where possible.
  • Thermal and visual technology. The team settled on a combination of automatic thermal detection cameras and high-resolution pan-tilt-zoom (PTZ) cameras in conjunction with a wireless mesh network, all linked to a central command centre.
  • Integration. The highly sensitive thermal cameras allowed for immediate notification to security personnel of any breach of the perimeter, while the PTZ cameras offered 24-hour remote visual monitoring capabilities. Together, they enabled security staff to quickly assess and act on any accidental or intentional breaches, while also preventing unnecessary responses to false triggers.

The outcome

The Paringa Quarantine Facility became fully operational in mid-March 2021, and successfully housed over 800 seasonal workers, with the final occupants leaving in mid-June. In addition to providing security technology infrastructure and networking, Sturdie Secure Technologies specialists were also on hand throughout the life of the project to offer support and advice on the system’s use.

By installing a smart, high-level, integrated security platform, the on-site staffing costs were reduced, the integrity of the facility was maintained, the health of the community was safeguarded, and South Australia’s vital agricultural industries could operate productively with valuable crops once again able to be harvested.

“Our model is being looked upon interstate as best practice… The Paringa Resort will now return to business as usual with the removal of extra infrastructure such as security fencing taking place over the coming days.”

David Basham, Minister for Primary Industries and Regional Development