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The staggering financial cost of Australia’s inhumanity

Media Release
Nick McKim 13 Sep 2016

A report from the Australian National Audit Office has revealed that it costs $573,000 per person per year to keep people in offshore detention on Manus Island and Nauru.

The audit revealed “serious and persistent deficiencies” which fell “well short of effective procurement practice”, and also revealed that Department of Immigration and Border Protection “used approaches that reduced competitive pressure and significantly increased the price of the services without government authority to do so”.

Greens Immigration spokesperson Nick McKim said it showed the department had gone rogue in some aspects of its operation.

“Minister Dutton and senior DIBP staff should be carefully considering their positions,” Senator McKim said.

“A financial cost of over half a million dollars per person per year is astronomical, but of course the human cost of indefinite offshore detention is far higher.”

The audit identified “shortcomings in DIBP’s record keeping system” which resulted in the department being unable to provide the audit office that it had provided it with all relevant documents.

“This is a scathing and damning report which seriously undermines public confidence in the department’s ability to do its job,” Senator McKim said.

“Given the Labor and Coalition Government’s willingness to spend seemingly unlimited public money on cruel and failed policies it is little wonder that the cost of Operation Sovereign Borders has blown out to at least $9.6 billion over the last three years.”

Attorney-General George Brandis has not disputed the $9.6 billion figure, despite being given multiple opportunities to do so in Question Time today.

“On top of all that, we know that the people continue to risk their lives by trying to get to Australia in unseaworthy vessels” Senator McKim said.

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