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Wednesday, 17 April 1985
Page: 1335

(Question No. 241)

Mr Ruddock asked the Minister for Immigration and Ethnic Affairs, upon notice, on 21 March 1985:

(1) Did the Auditor-General in his efficiency audit on the control of prohibited immigration advocate the use of a less costly reporting system for prohibited immigrants.

(2) Was his Department unable to provide statistics on the use of the reporting system, outlined in his Department's residential control manual, or its failure rate.

(3) Does his Department now collect such statistics on the use of the reporting system and its success or otherwise.

(4) What has resulted from this information being collected.

Mr Hurford —The answer to the honourable member's question is as follows:

(1) The Auditor-General's report states, inter alia, at page 49 that ''Audit explored the potential for greater use of the much less costly 'reporting' system''.

(2) Yes. While information on persons put on reporting arrangements is held in regional offices of my Department, it was not in a form conducive to the ready extraction of the statistics sought by the audit team.

(3) Statistics about people in custody and those not placed in custody and some form of ''Reporting Register'' have been maintained in each region for many years.

These provide the basis for surveys from time to time. My Department considers this adequate rather than an elaborate on-going system of daily statistical reporting.

(4) In mid 1984, following the Auditor-General's views, more extensive use was made of the reporting system as an alternative to custody in a detention centre. This experiment and survey of results revealed that more than half of the illegal immigrants put on report absconded. As a result of the analysis of the information obtained at the time instructions were issued to guide officers in deciding whether a person should be detained. Further surveys will be conducted from time to time on the information subsequently being recorded.