Here we go again. An article in the mainstream media that discusses the obscene amount of money the Australian government is spending on keeping refugees in detention but no mention of Serco, the British multinational running the detention centres and the company receiving a good bulk of the money:
Offshore processing of asylum-seekers is five times more expensive than holding illegal arrivals in mainland detention facilities.
In pursuing the offshore option the Gillard government is making a $735 million budget bet that it will be able to stem the flow of boatpeople in the next three years.
Figures contained in the Immigration Department’s brief to the incoming government show $471.18m has been allocated for offshore processing of illegal arrivals in the 2010-11 budget.
But Immigration Minister Chris Bowen yesterday remained committed to the Christmas Island detention centre.
“Why is there a detention centre at Christmas Island? It’s because that’s where people arrive; it’s because it’s obviously the easiest part of Australia to get to, it’s closer to Indonesia than mainland Australia,” Mr Bowen said.
The $471.18m cost of offshore processing compared with a 2010-11 budget allocation for onshore detention facilities of $93.76m.
As at September 9, when the brief was prepared, the Christmas Island detention centre held 2464 illegal maritime arrivals, including 47 crew for the boats that brought them.
Mainland facilities held 2363 illegal arrivals.
Yesterday Christmas Island held 2743 detainees, including 51 crew, and there were 3493 illegal maritime arrivals in onshore detention.
This was 30 detainees in excess of available capacity, even including contingency accommodation.