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Notice given 24 September 2003

*2171  Senator Lees: To ask the Minister for Immigration and Multicultural and Indigenous Affairs—

(1) Will the Minister act on unanimous advice from a range of health and social welfare agencies, including the Royal Australasian College of Physicians (RACP), Paediatrics and Child Health Division; the Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Psychiatrists, Faculty of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry; and the Professional Alliance for the Health of Asylum Seekers and their Children that ‘prolonged detention is causing harm to the mental health and development of children and adolescents’ and that the Minister should ‘undertake an independent, expert review’ into the mental health of children held in detention in Australia’s immigration detention centres.

(2) Will the Minister take any further action to examine and evaluate the performance of Australasian Correctional Management (ACM), with regard to the mental health and welfare of children in detention; if so, what action will the Minister take; if not, under what conditions would the Minister be prepared to conduct such an evaluation of ACM’s  performance.

(3) With reference to the Minister’s response to the May 2003 Four Corners program on the former Woomera Detention Centre, that ‘there is no contractual requirement for ACM to provide staffing numbers to DIMIA’ for the achievement of contracted outcomes by ACM:  Given this lack of detailed accountability by ACM and the consistent reporting by social welfare and medical practitioners about the institutional barriers to the mental health and wellbeing of detainees: What steps is the Minister currently taking to ensure that ACM is now upholding Australian immigration detention standards.