04 March 2011

Government announces expanded Australia Immigration detention accommodation

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The Government has announced it will expand immigration detention accommodation on the mainland to relieve pressure on existing facilities including Christmas Island.

Australia Immigration

The Australia Immigration department has announced expanded detention facilities.

Australia Immigration Minister Chris Bowen said a new detention centre would be established at Wickham Point in Darwin, while capacity at the Darwin Airport Lodge (DAL) facility would also be expanded.

He also announced the Scherger RAAF Base near Weipa in Queensland would continue to be used as detention accommodation for a further 12 months, which has the support of the local community.

“The new centre at Wickham Point will be used instead of proceeding with the previously announced contingency site at 11 Mile Antenna Farm,” Mr Bowen said.

The expansion of the centre will enable the closure of other Alternative Places of Detention (APOD).

Mr Bowen confirmed that the Virginia Palms APOD in Brisbane would close by June this year, followed by the Asti Hotel APOD in Darwin.

The previously announced contingency option of expanding the Melbourne Immigration Transit Accommodation to accommodate more families and unaccompanied minors will not proceed at this time.

“The government’s decision to move children and vulnerable families into the community makes expanded use of the facility unnecessary at this stage,” Mr Bowen said.

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