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HREOC praises immigration detention improvements.

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HREOC praises immigration detention improvements

19 January 2007

Improvements to immigration detention have been recognised by the Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission (HREOC) in a report released today, Minister for Immigration and Multicultural Affairs Amanda Vanstone said today.

‘We have made many far-reaching changes to immigration detention facilities and services since the Palmer and Comrie reports, and it is encouraging to have this acknowledged by HREOC,’ Senator Vanstone said.

In October and November, HREOC undertook its annual inspection of immigration detention centres and residential housing centres in Melbourne, Darwin, Perth, Port Augusta and Sydney.

The report found that

'there have clearly been substantial efforts to improve the physical environment, reduce the tension levels, enhance the programs and activities available to detainees and improve mental health services'.

It also noted the improvement in the approach and attitude of Department of Immigration and Multicultural Affairs (DIMA) and GSL staff running immigration detention centres.

‘This comes as a result of the enhanced training and support we now give to staff at centres to better enable them to do their job fairly and reasonably,’ Senator Vanstone said.

‘The report also highlights some additional improvements that could be made. My department is already working on several areas identified by HREOC including enhanced case management services and expanded educational and recreational programs at all

detention centres.

‘One of the key improvements being developed is a new robust method for determining where detainees should be accommodated - whether within an immigration detention centre, at a residential housing centre or in alternative detention in the community.

‘I welcome this report and look forward to further HREOC visits to our facilities as we push forward our programme of improvement.’

The department's response to the HREOC Report of Annual Visits to Immigration Detention Centres is available. See: External Scrutiny of Immigration Detention Centres


Kevin Andrews MP Minister for Immigration and Citizenship