Joint Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs, Defence
List of Recommendations
Chapter 4 Detention centres: an overview
The Committee recommends that the Department of Immigration and Multicultural Affairs and Australasian Correctional Management Pty Ltd:
- introduce into each of the centres an updated and expanded range of educational, sporting and exercise facilities, and
- provide access to an appropriate range of newspapers.
The Committee recommends that the Department of Immigration and Multicultural Affairs negotiate agreements with State and Territory Governments and non-government schools to enable children in detention centres to gain access to nearby schools:
- to ensure that all school age persons in detention centres are given the access to the level of education that they require, and
- reports to the Committee on progress on these negotiations with relevant States and Territories by not later than six months after the tabling of this report.
The Committee recommends that, together with English language lessons, detainees be strongly encouraged to participate in classes about life in Australia.
The Committee recommends that the Department of Immigration and Multicultural Affairs and Australasian Correctional Management Pty Ltd review the Occupational Health and Safety issues involved in the work done by detainees at detention centres.
The Committee recommends that the points system for work carried out by detainees at the centres be reviewed to ensure that, as far as practicable, there is consistency in the allocation of points where similar work is undertaken at the various centres.
Chapter 5 Processing and related issues
The Committee recommends that the Australian Government consider the establishment of a reserve list of Members to assist the Refugee Review Tribunal at times of peak workload.
The Committee recommends that the current informal arrangement, whereby the Refugee Review Tribunal can draw attention to humanitarian issues in the case of an asylum seeker, should be formalised by an amendment to s. 417 of the Migration Act 1958 so that these issues are formally included in the Minister's consideration of such cases.
The Committee recommends that the Australian Security Intelligence Organisation develop an appropriate risk profile to assist the early release into the Australian community of asylum seekers.
The Committee supports the proposed trial of facilities for women and children in towns, with access to nearby detention centres.
The Committee recommends that for asylum seekers who have received security clearances:
- there should be a time limit on the period that they are required to spend in administrative detention;
- it is desirable that this time limit should be no longer than the period that the Department of Immigration and Multicultural Affairs is funded by the Australian Government from time to time to process individual applications for asylum in Australia, currently 14 weeks; and
- similarly appropriate time limits should be established for consideration of applications by the Refugee Review Tribunal.
The Committee recommends that all detainees are given appointments on a regular basis with their case officers to update the detainees on the precise current status of their applications for protection.
The Committee recommends that the Department of Immigration and Multicultural Affairs negotiate with appropriate community groups to examine the feasibility of developing a sponsorship scheme for detainees who have not been processed within the time limit against which the Department is funded, currently 14 weeks, and who have received a security clearance.
The Committee recommends that, wherever possible, blocks within detention centres be designated for the exclusive use of families.
The Committee recommends that appropriate community organisations, including religious and welfare groups, be given greater access to the detention centres after detainees have met initial processing requirements.
The Committee recommends that, as a matter of urgency, the Department of Immigration and Multicultural Affairs negotiate Memoranda of Understanding with relevant States and Territories about the detention of asylum seekers in their jails.
The Committee recommends that the Minister for Immigration and Multicultural Affairs consider the establishment of a higher security facility, either within an existing centre or as a new facility, for the housing of a particular group of detainees that could include those who have been:
- charged with a criminal offence and are awaiting trial; or
- convicted of a criminal offence and have completed their jail term; or
- found to have been convicted of a criminal offence in another country; or
- instigated serious disturbances in existing centres.
Chapter 6 ACM's treatment of detainees
The Committee recommends that the Department of Immigration and Multicultural Affairs hold discussions with Australasian Correctional Management Pty Ltd, with a view:
- to ensuring an appropriate relationship exists between staff and detainees at migration detention centres;
- to ensuring appropriate briefings are given on arrival at centres, so that detainees are made aware of the range of assistance and facilities that is available;
- to strengthening the role of counsellors and welfare officers at the centres to ensure as far as practicable that all detainees are aware of the role of these staff members and the assistance that they can provide; and
- to nominating an appropriate, independent person for each detention centre to whom complaints can be brought by detainees who claim harsh or unfair treatment by officers of Australian Correctional Management Pty Ltd.
The Committee recommends that the Department of Immigration and Multicultural Affairs undertake, as a matter of urgency, a review of the Immigration Detention Standards and include the revised document in its contractual negotiations with Australian Correctional Management Pty Ltd.
The Committee recommends that the visual checks of detainees, including waking them during the night to establish their identity, should cease except where special security concerns exist.
Chapter 7 The effects of detention
The Committee recommends that a review be carried out by the Department of Immigration and Multicultural Affairs and Australian Correctional Management Pty Ltd into the adequacy of psychological services provided to detainees.
Back to top