Push to turn COVID facility into homeless shelter
There are renewed calls to turn a COVID-19 quarantine facility into emergency accommodation for the homeless in Queensland, with Brisbane's mayor pledging $1 million for the project.
Mayor Adrian Schrinner on Saturday said funding from the council's upcoming budget would go towards laundry facilities at the 500-bed Pinkenba site, along with transport and library services.
The facility was originally built for quarantine purposes during the pandemic but now sits empty and Mr Schrinner believes it should be repurposed to tackle the state's housing crisis.
"I'm sick and tired of hearing the excuses about why this can't happen," he said.
"I know this facility wasn't purpose-built for crisis housing, but it's a whole lot better than living in a car or a tent."
The proposal requires the backing of the state and federal governments as the facility is owned by the Commonwealth.
Queensland Environment Minister Meaghan Scanlon said it was a complex issue.
"We'll continue to work with all levels of government to try and find these solutions," Ms Scanlon told reporters on Saturday.
"Quarantine facilities are built in a way that they're designed to be away from people and services and so that's why some of these things are more complex than you may originally anticipate."
Treasurer Jim Chalmers said the federal government was always prepared to work with state governments to find common ground, but he was not aware of any approach to repurpose the Pinkenba facility.
"If and when that comes, obviously we will do what we can to work together," he said on Friday.