The Australian government needs its head read but it shows that firms like G4S sell themselves as invaluable and “efficient” service providers:
The Federal Government is looking to have the Manus Island immigration centre run by G4S, the same firm criticised by a West Australian coroner and humiliated over its handling of security for the London Olympics.
The Immigration Department has issued a letter of intent to G4S in preparation for the first group of asylum seekers expected to be sent to the Papua New Guinea island before the end of the month.
It has also emerged the department is yet to finalise any of the contracts with companies involved in running the detention centre on Nauru, despite the arrival of nearly 300 asylum seekers.
The Government has signed heads of agreements with Transfield, the Salvation Army and International Health and Medical Services to run the Nauru centre, but those are due to expire in a fortnight.
It hopes to finalise contracts soon.
Martin Bowles, the acting secretary of the Immigration Department, said it should not be considered a vote of no confidence in Serco – the company that operates the domestic detention centre network – that it was not contracted to operate the facility on Nauru.
In re-establishing the processing centre on Manus Island, the Immigration Department said it considered a broader range of companies to operate the centre because it had more time to consider the options.
It is now in the process of negotiating a contract with G4S, prompting concerns from Greens senator Sarah Hanson-Young.
“This company… has been widely condemned by their treatment of prisoners,” she told reporters in Canberra.
“They are the company who were widely condemned by the WA coroner for the death in custody incident – a very unfortunate, very tragic case of a young man who was left in the back of a paddy wagon for hours and died of dehydration.
“The situation on Manus Island, the situation on Nauru is almost an inhumane Frankenstein of an immigration detention network.
“No-one can tell us who is going to ultimately be responsible for the management and duty of care of refugees.”