Quarter million per day refugee jailing costs mocks 'good economic manager' labelling

Project SafeCom Inc.
P.O. Box 364
Narrogin
Western Australia 6312
Phone: 0417 090 130
Web: http://www.safecom.org.au/

Quarter million per day refugee jailing costs mocks 'good economic manager' labelling

Media Release
Wednesday May 23, 2007 8:30am WST
For Immediate Release
No Embargoes

"The staggering cost of locking up a handful of asylum seekers in Australian detention centres - amounting to $256 thousand per day - as prized out of the Immigration Department chiefs by Greens Senator Kerry Nettle make a jarring mockery of the Howard government's self-aggrandising claims in the lead-up to the 2007 Federal election as 'good economic managers', WA Rights group Project SafeCom said this morning.

(Breakdown of figures below)

"In this week's Senate Estimates session in Federal Parliament, Senators embarked on a long session of prizing the facts out of Immigration Department Chief Andrew Metcalfe and others, and the unbelievable annual total figure of $93.72 million amounts to more than a quarter million dollars per day for the grace of locking up - forever if need be - of asylum seekers in Australian detention centres," spokesman Jack H Smit said.

"Calling John Howard a Prime Minister a "great economic manager" is a farce, even if only looking at this deplorable squandering of tax-payer's monies. If we were to add the staggering costs to the mental health of detained asylum seekers to this bill as expressed in costs of post-detention counselling and psychotherapy, or loss of income once these detained asylum seekers are released - because their detention has damaged them to such an extend that they are unable to have a successful working life following their release - this quarter million dollars per day bill may well double," Mr Smit said.

"This detention policy is a scandal, and an international outcry, and this outcry and this scandal under John Howard will pursue Australia for many decades to come."

"Mandatory Detention policy is not just a broke and bankrupt policy, it also makes the State bankrupt. It's time that Australia under a post-Howard government starts following the good examples of many UN Convention countries in Europe, which allows asylum seekers into the community and allows them to work after an initial baseline assessment of their claims," Mr Smit said.

Jack H Smit
Project SafeCom Inc.
[phone number posted]

2006-07 Costs per detention centre

Detention Centre: Nauru
Fixed Annual Cost: $28 million
Cost per detainee per day: -

Detention Centre: Manus Island
Fixed Annual Cost: $2 million
Cost per detainee per day: mothballed

Detention Centre: Baxter
Fixed Annual Cost: $23.3 million
Cost per detainee per day: $115

Detention Centre: Villawood
Fixed Annual Cost: 16.9 million
Cost per detainee per day: $154

Detention Centre: Christmas Island (current)
Fixed Annual Cost: $6.8 million
Cost per detainee per day: -

Detention Centre: Marbynong
Fixed Annual Cost: $5.3 million
Cost per detainee per day: $104

Detention Centre: Perth
Fixed Annual Cost: $4.6 million
Cost per detainee per day: $189

Detention Centre: Northern (Darwin)
Fixed Annual Cost: $3.9 million
Cost per detainee per day: $122

Detention Centre: Port Augusta
Fixed Annual Cost: $2.2 million
Cost per detainee per day: $122

Detention Centre: Port Hedland
Fixed Annual Cost: $0.72 million
Cost per detainee per day: mothballed

TOTAL $93.72 million

Click to check if this page is Valid HTML 4.01! Click to check if this page contains valid Cascading Style Sheets