Brisbane’s lord Mayor is outraged that the AFP is taking over a site that could be used to assist the homeless. 

A dispute has emerged over the future use of a quarantine facility originally built for the COVID-19 pandemic, which is now set to become a police training centre. 

Brisbane Lord Mayor Adrian Schrinner has voiced strong objections to the Australian Federal Police's (AFP) plans to repurpose the Pinkenba site, a decision he describes as “heartbreaking”. 

The facility, which cost $400 million and was completed in October 2022, has never been used for its intended purpose and remains vacant. 

Early in the discussions about its future use, Cr Schrinner advocated for transforming the 500-bed centre into emergency accommodation for the homeless, an idea that received financial backing with $1 million committed by the city and an additional $10 million from the Queensland Government.

“This is a really demoralising decision for the hundreds and hundreds of people that are living in tents and cars,” Cr Schrinner has told the ABC. 

He further highlighted the dire need for crisis accommodation, saying; “There's no homes available for people that need crisis accommodation. I'm just devastated.”

The decision to allocate the site to the AFP was made jointly by Federal Finance Minister Senator Katy Gallagher and Attorney-General Mark Dreyfus. 

They say that the choice followed consultations with various governmental agencies about the facility's best use, and assured that the centre could still be used for emergencies if necessary.