Government Announces Closure Of NT Detention Centre, Cites “Stopping The Boats” Success

The Government has today announced the upcoming closure of a immigration detention centre in Darwin, as Immigration Minister Peter Dutton cited that the Coalition’s success in “stopping the boats” spurred the shut down. 

Peter Dutton announced that the Blaydin Point facility in Darwin was seen as no longer necessary as immigration numbers by boat have ebbed in the recent months. 

“The closure of Blaydin means that taxpayers save more than $18 million a year in lease costs alone,” Dutton said. The closure does not mean, however, that all detainees in the centre will be given passage into Australia – the ABC reports that the remaining detainees will be transferred to other immigration detention facilities, communities or given bridging visas. 

The move demonstrates the Coalition’s hardline stance of ‘stopping the boats’ that was at the forefront of the LNP agenda and election campaign in 2013. The news today does come, however, at a contentious period regarding immigration issues in Australia – a Human Rights Commission report released last week exposed the abuse and mistreatment of children in detention centres under the leadership of both the former Labor government and the current Coalition government. 

The report, revealing in explicit detail the experiences of children in Australian detention centres, was not received well by Prime Minister Tony Abbott, who accused the report of being a “blatantly bipartisan exercise.” On Q&A earlier this week, Malcolm Turnbull insisted the biggest issue was the children in detention, and that the number of children in detention centres in Australia was decreasing. 

The Darwin centre follows on from several other APODs (Alternative Place of Detention) set to close under the Abbott government. In December last year, detainees were moved from a similar facility in Inverbrackie to prepare for its closure, and in January last year, centres in Leonora and Port Augusta were announced to be closed.

Today’s announcement also closely follows bold skywriting that appeared in Sydney this week, reading, “SHUT DOWN MANUS.” 

via ABC.
Lead image by Scott Fisher via Getty.