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Monday, 21 November 2011
Page: 9115

Asylum Seekers

(Question No. 1206)

Senator Abetz asked the Minister representing the Minister for Immigration and Citizenship, upon notice, on 15 September 2011:

(1) How many asylum seekers were transferred in the first group, and can a detailed breakdown be provided of the cost of transporting the first group to the centre.

(2) What is the anticipated total cost of transporting asylum seekers to the centre.

(3) Will the centre still close in October, as initially committed to by the Government; if not, why not, and when.

Senator Carr: The Minister for Immigration and Citizenship has provided the following answer to the honourable senator's question:

The first group of 35 asylum seekers were transferred to Pontville Immigration Detention Centre (IDC) 1 September 2011.

The total cost for transporting this group via charter flight from Curtin IDC to Pontville IDC was $185 900.

Decisions to transfer asylum seekers between immigration detention facilities are based on careful consideration of a range of factors, including individual client circumstances; the overall capacity and occupancy of facilities within the detention network; staffing; interpreter and service provider requirements; the good order and safety of each facility; and appropriate management of any health or security risks to the community.

Due to the dynamic nature of the immigration detention population, and associated accommodation requirements, it is difficult to estimate specific anticipated transport costs for asylum seeker transfers to particular facilities.

As the Minister has said, Pontville IDC will close on 1 March 2012, six months from when it opened on 1 September 2011.