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New Villawood housing project a testimony to the failure of mandatory detention.



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Kerry Nettle, Senator for New South Wales

New Villawood housing project a testimony to the failure of mandatory detention

Senator Nettle, 1st August 2006

Australian Greens Senator Kerry Nettle today said that opening of the Villawood Residential Housing Centre should not be seen as an indication that the government is supporting families in detention.

"It is hypocritical for the Minister to be opening the Villawood Housing Centre at the same as she is considering sending a sick Afghan child to remote the Christmas Island detention centre.

"Shiny new detention facilities do not signal the real change that is still needed in the Government detention regime.

"Every Residential Housing Centre built is a reminder of the damage that mandatory detention does to human lives.

"I know one man who has a serious mental illness related to the detention centre environment, yet the Minister has so far refused to grant him alternative detention, despite his family, who are Australian citizens, offering to care for him.

"The Greens also note the Government is continuing with its program of ensuring that immigration detainees are not properly remunerated for the work they do in immigration detention centres. Private companies should not be able to use '$1 an

hour' detainee labour and then announce million dollar profits.

"People in immigration detention are not criminals and should be treated with dignity and respect and properly remunerated for the work they do and not exploited or abused."

Contact: Jon Edwards - 0428 213 146