Heavy immigration detention centre security stays
By Karlis Salna , Daily Telegraph
August 18, 2009 6:06PM
THE Rudd Government has no plans to reduce security at the Christmas Island detention centre despite an inquiry finding measures employed at the facility are draconian and over the top.
In its third and final report into immigration detention in Australia, the Joint Standing Committee on Migration has raised serious concerns about the standard of accommodation in detention facilities.
The report also raises concerns about the level of security at some centres, particularly at the North West Point facility on Christmas Island.
"The standard of the accommodation and facilities provided at immigration detention centres was of a serious concern, particularly Stage 1 at Villawood and the Perth immigration centre," the report said.
Start of sidebar. Skip to end of sidebar.
Calls for overhaul of immigration detention NEWS.com.au, 1 day ago
Christmas Island can cope: Government NEWS.com.au, 28 Jun 2009
100 more boatpeople on way Perth Now, 26 Jun 2009
Villawood detention centre revamp The Australian, 11 May 2009
Migrant centre stretched to limit Daily Telegraph, 28 Apr 2009
End of sidebar. Return to start of sidebar.
"Many detention facilities also have disproportionate and antiquated security measures such as razor/barbed wire, in particular at the North West Point immigration detention centre on Christmas Island."
Included in a raft of recommendations is for all caged walkways, perspex barriers and electrified fencing be removed from the North West Point detention centre, and that barbed wire fencing be removed from all immigration detention centres.
However, Immigration Minister Chris Evans dismissed the possibility of making any significant changes to the Christmas Island centre, saying it would be too costly.
"The detention centre on Christmas Island is an integral part of Australia's border protection regime and is the only large, secure immigration detention facility available other than the Villawood Immigration Detention Centre in Sydney," Senator Evans said.
"The Christmas Island detention centre was built as a high security facility by the previous government at a cost of $400 million and to make significant alterations now would be financially unfeasible."
The Rudd government was committed to maintaining its policy that all illegal boat arrivals were detained and processed at Christmas Island while health, identity and security checks are undertaken, Senator Evans said.
"The Labor party went to the last election with a commitment to maintain a system of mandatory detention and offshore processing on Christmas Island for all irregular maritime arrivals and these commitments are being met."
Joint Standing Committee on Migration chairman Michael Danby said the poor standard of accommodation at detention centres supported the case that detainees instead be placed in residential housing.
"The standard of the accommodation and facilities provided at many immigration detention centres were of a serious concern," Mr Danby said.
"The committee has therefore recommended that detention in immigration residential housing should be used in lieu of detention in immigration detention centres, provided that is feasible."
The committee also recommended that the reconstruction of Stage 1 at Villawood be a priority and that the Perth detention centre be replaced with a purpose-built, long-term facility.