New short-term detention centre in Tasmania
Tuesday, 05 April 2011
A Defence facility in Pontville, in southern Tasmania, will be the site of a temporary new detention centre to accommodate up to 400 single adult men, the Minister for Immigration and Citizenship, Chris Bowen MP, announced today.
Located about 30 kilometres from Hobart, the site will be brought online next month, subject to the availability of local contractors. It will initially accommodate about 250 people.
The centre will consist of Army dormitory buildings, with supporting structures brought in as needed. The centre's level of amenity will be in line with other immigration detention centres on the Australian mainland.
Mr Bowen said the Pontville site was a short-term response while work is completed on detention accommodation at Wickham Point in Darwin, and Northam in Western Australia.
'The government has acknowledged the pressures on our detention facilities and this new accommodation will help to relieve the strain on the system,' Mr Bowen said.
'Following the incidents and loss of detention capacity at Christmas Island, Pontville presents an appropriate contingency option for detention accommodation.'
The Pontville detention centre is expected to be operational until October 2011.
Mr Bowen said Pontville had appropriate infrastructure in place and with minor works could be set up relatively quickly.
'This location will allow the department and detention service provider to secure services, goods and employees from the Hobart region, providing an economic benefit to the local area,' he said.
'My department will be required to upgrade and install security at the site and install additional buildings.'
Capital costs for the required upgrades will be about $15 million.
The Department of Immigration and Citizenship (DIAC) will only utilise a part of the overall parcel of land. The centre is not expected to have any adverse effect on Defence operations, local graziers or nearby residents, however DIAC will engage in further consultation with locals to ensure any impact is minimised.
'A community reference group will also be established as a liaison point for the department, local and state government, and members of the community to assist with and keep informed on the planning and establishment of the facility,’ Mr Bowen said.
Last update: Tuesday, 05 April 2011 at 12:03 AEST