Cluey firms making good money from Australian government’s privatisation obsession

The Canberra Times reveals who is making a killing, largely invisible in the public domain and likely to only make more money in the years ahead; privatisation is a bi-partisan disease:

Detention centre operators, an international training company, a NSW Government department and a multinational IT firm are the big winners from the Federal Government’s immigration policies.

An analysis of tender data by The Canberra Times has identified, for the first time, the companies that have won the most lucrative contracts from the Department of Immigration and Citizenship since 2008.

Combined with information from DIAC, a fuller picture has emerged of the true cost of the Federal Government’s asylum-seeker policy, with a refugee advocate saying the money could be better deployed in cheaper community-based alternatives.

The tenders data shows that multinational detention centre operators G4S and Serco have been the biggest financial beneficiaries of the Federal Government’s mandatory detention policies.

Detention centre operator Serco tops the list, thanks to its five-year contract to run Australia’s immigration detention network. The contract, worth $279million in 2009, was quietly revised upwards to $712million in July.

Serco also has another contract worth $44million to provide ”Immigration Residential Housing and Immigration Transit” to DIAC.

Serco won the tender from rival G4S, which had been running the detention centres since 2003 under a $580million contract.

DIAC said yesterday that as of September 8, 4873 boat people and crew members were being held in Christmas Island and mainland detention facilities. This did not include the boat, carrying 72 people, which landed on Friday.

In June, 6403 people were being held in immigration detention.

The department expects the cost of detaining asylum-seekers to fall in the current financial year to $628.7million. It says the cost of running the Curtin detention centre – this year $108million – will fall $20million next year.

Asylum Seeker Resource Centre chief executive Kon Karapanagiotidis said his non-profit organisation cared for asylum-seekers in the community for just $4.80 per person per day, providing food, public transport, legal services, a GP, and other services.

Text and images ©2023 Antony Loewenstein. All rights reserved.

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