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Migration Act 1958—Section 486O—Assessment of detention arrangements—Personal identifier 1000230-O2, 1001253-O3, 1001501-O4, 1002057-O2, 1002287-O4, 1002426-O3, 1002714-O3, 1002720-O2, 1002917-O1, 1003153-O—Government response to Ombudsman's reports


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RESPONSE TO OMBUDSMAN’S ASSESSMENT NO. 19 / 2020 MADE UNDER SECTION 486O OF THE MIGRATION ACT 1958

STATEMENT TO PARLIAMENT - No. 19 / 2020

General Comments

I refer to the Commonwealth Ombudsman’s assessment tabled in Parliament today. This assessment refers to 16 people who have been in immigration detention for two or more years. This assessment contains recommendations relating to three cases.

Response to the Commonwealth Ombudsman’s assessment

1. Tabling statement for case: 1000230-O2.

Consideration of an International Treaties Obligations Assessment (ITOA) and any non-refoulement obligations owed to a person requires extensive investigation of an individual’s personal circumstances, their immigration history and changes to relevant in-country information.

During the Department’s consideration of their ITOA, this person sought several extensions of time to provide information, which were agreed to by the Department. The last submission from this person was provided on 24 April 2020.

The Department is now finalising its consideration of the provided information and is expediting consideration of this person’s ITOA.

The Department recently provided this person with an extension of time to comment on a range of information being considered as part of the revocation request. Subject to any response provided by the person, the Department will expedite its consideration of the revocation request.

The Department recently initiated an assessment of this person against the Minister’s section 197AB guidelines. The Minister’s personal intervention powers are non-compellable, meaning the relevant Minister is under no obligation to exercise or to consider exercising these powers. Cases are only referred to the relevant Minister, if they meet the Ministerial Intervention guidelines.

The Department does not accept the Ombudsman’s recommendation to commission a contemporary independent risk assessment. The Department has an adequate risk assessment tool that is applied to all detention cases and is used to inform placement decisions, including Ministerial Intervention processes.

The Department is open to discussing this recommendation in more detail with the Ombudsman.

2. Tabling statement for case: 1001253-O3.

I note the Ombudsman’s recommendations. This person’s visa application was subject to court proceedings that have been recently finalised. As the court proceedings have been finalised the Department will now expedite this person’s case.

This person was recently found not to meet the Minister’s section 197AB guidelines for consideration of a residence determination. The Minister’s personal intervention powers are non-compellable, meaning the relevant Minister is under no obligation to exercise or to consider exercising these powers. Cases are only referred to the relevant Minister, if they meet the Ministerial Intervention guidelines.

The Department does not accept the Ombudsman’s recommendation to commission a contemporary independent risk assessment. The Department has an adequate risk assessment tool that is applied to all detention cases and is used to inform placement decisions, including Ministerial Intervention processes.

The Department is open to discussing this recommendation in more detail with the Ombudsman.

3. Tabling statement for case: 1002057-O2.

The Department has initiated an assessment of this person against the Minister’s section 195A and 197AB guidelines for consideration of a bridging visa or a community placement under a residence determination. The Minister’s personal intervention powers are non-compellable, meaning the relevant Minister is under no obligation to exercise or to consider exercising these powers. Cases are only referred to the relevant Minister, if they meet the Ministerial Intervention guidelines.

The Department has established a range of measures to mitigate the risk of COVID-19 transmission in immigration detention. Detainee visits and moves within Immigration Detention Centres (IDCs) have been minimised, cleaning of accommodation and common areas enhanced, touchpoints between staff and detainees have been reduced and high-risk COVID-19 detainees have been offered single accommodation or placement with other high-risk detainees.

This person has declined a placement in a separate room and is currently placed in shared accommodation with other high-risk COVID-19 detainees.

The Department does not accept the Ombudsman’s recommendation to commission a contemporary independent risk assessment. The Department has an adequate risk assessment tool that is applied to all detention cases and is used to inform placement decisions, including Ministerial Intervention processes.

The Department is open to discussing this recommendation in more detail with the Ombudsman.

4. Tabling statement for cases: 1001501-O4, 1002287-O4, 1002426-O3, 1002714-O3, 1002720-O2, 1002917-O1 and 1003153-O.

I note that the Ombudsman has made no recommendations in relation to these cases.

(Original signed by Alan Tudge)

THE HON ALAN TUDGE MP Acting Minister for Immigration, Citizenship, Migrant Services and Multicultural Affairs

23 / 7 / 2020