Unfinished Pinkenba Quarantine Facility Proposed for Transformation as Housing for DV Victims

A proposal has been raised to transform the unfinished Pinkenba quarantine facility into a dedicated crisis housing complex for women and children who are victims of domestic violence.

In July 2022, the Queensland government announced that the Pinkenba quarantine facility will no longer be required for COVID-19 amidst its delayed opening. The pandemic Wellcamp facility, which opened in February and housed over 700 individuals in the course of six months, has also been ordered closed as of 1 Aug 2022.  

Given these changes, Lord Mayor Adrian Schrinner said that there is now an “opportunity to step-up and ensure their Pinkenba quarantine facility becomes a valuable asset rather than a white elephant.” 

The Federal Government owns the site, which was originally set to open in 2021 with an initial 500 beds and was also due for a handover to the State Government in March. Delays due to inclement weather pushed back its opening but the completion date of the facility has not yet been announced. 

Mr Schrinner said that a number of organisations that have the expertise in crisis housing may run the site on behalf of the government. However, Micah Projects chief executive Karyn Walsh said that the Pinkenba quarantine facility won’t be a quick fix. 

Pinkenba Quarantine Facility
Wellcamp Quarantine Facility
Photo Credit: QueenslandGovt

Whilst Ms Walsh backs the mayor’s idea, she said housing accommodation for domestic violence victims should be planned by the right people. She said DV victims will need to have the “security of housing” where the location is near support services as opposed to a quarantine facility in a well-known site. 

The quarantine facility was also mainly built for infection control and prevention, supporting the health systems and humanitarian efforts of the government. 

A spokesperson for the Federal Government’s Finance Minister and Minister for Women Katy Gallagher said that the $400 million site may instead have future uses for health and emergency situations or as a temporary crisis accommodation following a natural disaster and similar events. 

Quarantine facilities in Victoria and Perth have had similar problems and are now vacant or have yet to open.