It has been known since the previous week that the former Baumax hall in Leoben will be reactivated as a large asylum area. The topic was also debated in the state parliament on Tuesday. Governor Hermann Schützenhöfer made people sit up and take notice: “Soon” the first refugees will be arriving there, he said.
The former hardware store became an asylum quarter as a result of the large refugee movements in 2015 and 2016. There were repeated rumors that it would be reactivated. So far, however, they have never come true. So far, it has been known since last week: In view of the sharp rise in asylum applications and the corona situation, the federal quarter will be ramped up again. Governor Hermann Schützenhöfer – as well as Social State Councilor Doris Kampus – heard about it on November 3rd. The Mayor of Leoben, Kurt Wallner, a SPÖ party colleague from Kampus, was not informed. “Austria cannot afford that.” The matter is a penalty for the FPÖ, which made an urgent request to Schützenhöfer in the state parliament. The Leoben mandate, Marco Triller, admitted that there is no refugee movement like in 2015 – but the number of asylum applications this year will be close to that of 2016 (42,000). “Austria cannot afford that.” Police increase patrol dutySchützenhöfer admitted in his response that the global crises are causing him great concern. Walls and barbed wire would not be the solution, however; European solidarity is needed. It is not made in the Styrian country parlor – but there are also specifics for Leoben: As soon as refugees arrive, the police patrol duty is increased, according to the governor. There should also be security personnel around the clock. Schützenhöfer emphasized that he was in contact with Interior Minister Karl Nehammer. Mayor wants the test road to be relocated Angry is the mayor of Leoben, who is powerless in this matter, Kurt Wallner. He demands that the hall be available again as a test street. The current premises in the former Interspar restaurant on Vorderberger Straße are barely able to cope with the onslaught. People would have to queue for hours at low temperatures. In addition, the Baumax hall is “in no way created to accommodate people.”