It would take $10 million to do it but the Pinkenba quarantine facility will be transformed into emergency accommodations for people in dire need of housing.
The State government’s landmark decision about the fate of the Pinkenba quarantine facility comes after numerous debates and discussions surrounding the site’s purpose, with previous assertions that its management fell under federal jurisdiction.
However, the pressing housing crisis in Queensland has necessitated action, and the facility will now be repurposed for much-needed housing.
Housing Minister Meaghan Scanlon unveiled the funding commitment following a housing roundtable, marking a significant turning point in the government’s stance. Partnering with one of Australia’s leading charities, the Salvation Army, the state is determined to ensure the smooth day-to-day operation of the facility.
The charity’s state homelessness manager, Aaron Pimlott, expressed their readiness to provide professional case management and collaborate with all levels of government to address the escalating issue of homelessness and extreme poverty in the region.
Whilst acknowledging that Pinkenba may not be a perfect solution, Pimlott emphasised the importance of expediting the process to provide vulnerable Queenslanders with a safe roof over their heads. He highlighted the worsening housing crisis and the need to explore alternative solutions in times of desperation.
This initiative builds upon the vision proposed by Lord Mayor Adrian Schrinner, who suggested converting the facility into crisis accommodation for domestic violence victims last year. He has also pledged an additional $1 million to enhance the facility to serve a wider range of emergency housing needs.
Cr Schrinner reiterated the urgent need for the state government to take the lead in activating Pinkenba as crisis accommodation, stressing that many individuals are currently compelled to sleep in cars and tents despite the availability of a brand-new 500-bed facility.
In addition to allocating funds towards the conversion of the Pinkenba quarantine facility, the state will engage with stakeholders, including the Real Estate Institute of Queensland, Queensland Council of Social Service, Tenants Queensland, and the Residential Tenancies Authority, to shape comprehensive rental reforms that safeguard tenants’ rights.
The government’s decision to convert the Pinkenba quarantine facility aligns with its commitment to address the pressing issue of homelessness. It also recently announced that it will allocate $320 million for 500 social homes to address the housing shortage.
Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk expressed the need to ensure all Queenslanders have housing, considering the influx of people moving to the state. The social housing is expected to be completed by mid-2025.