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Tuesday, 21 August 1984
Page: 79

(Question No. 906)

Senator Colston asked the Minister representing the Minister for Immigration and Ethnic Affairs, upon notice, on 29 May 1984:

(1) What detention facilities are used for apprehended illegal immigrants in Queensland.

(2) Are the facilities the same for men and women.

(3) Are there any plans for the provision of a detention centre in Queensland; if so, what is the nature of these plans.

Senator Grimes —The Minister for Immigration and Ethnic Affairs has provided the following answer to the honourable senator's question:

(1) Those illegal immigrants and deportees detained in immigration custody may be held initially in police watch houses and, as soon as practicable, taken to Queensland State prison institutions, especially the remand sections.

(2) As far as my Department is aware facilities within the State institutions are not precisely the same for men and women.

(3) As part of the Brisbane Airport redevelopment project a site has been reserved for the construction of an immigration detention centre by 1986. Design plans are under examination at present.

As a general policy, unless it is known that an illegal immigrant has a criminal background, I prefer to avoid the use of State prisons for the custody of illegal immigrants; unfortunately until immigration detention centres are more widely available it is not entirely possible to avoid the State institutions.

I should mention that not all illegal immigrants who are located are taken into custody. Under the general policy my Department endeavours to avoid placing in custody any children, aged or infirm people, women known to be in advanced stages of pregnancy and women who have children in their care or other serious home responsibilities such as caring for aged or infirm relatives.