Major policy changes are now being implemented by the Australian government. One part of the new changes includes the transfer of children and families from the immigration detention centers into community accommodations.
New immigration detention centers would be established in Perth and Adelaide. One facility would be put up in Northam, about eighty kilometers out of Perth and another to be established at Inverbrackie located north of Adelaide.
The Northam Immigration Detention Center would be able to hold a thousand and five hundred individuals while the Inverbackie facility would be able to house up to four hundred families.
The new policy measures were announced by Prime Minister Julia Gillard. "I don't think it's the Australian way to have children behind razor wire in the hope that will act as a deterrent," she said. She also added that the children would be required to go to school while in the community based holding centers.
The plan involves the removal of children from the detention centers by the end of the year. All are planned to be moved by June of 2011 according to Immigration Minister Chris Bowen.
This move is a response and reiteration on a commitment to balance the government's policy of having mandatory detention for illegal immigrants and those that opt to go that route in order to flee persecution. Prime Minister Gillard added, "This is especially important for children, for whom protracted detention can have negative impacts on their development and mental health."
As a precautionary measure to the transfer, the Melbourne Immigration Transport Accommodation Center would also be expanded. The Darwin Airport Lodge would also be expanded in order to accommodate possible overflows of children and families. A major player in this overall plan would be private charities and churches that would be guided by the government.
According to Mr. Bowen, the future welfare of the children detained was the primary aspect for the policy change on their current condition, regardless of the eventual visa outcome for them. He added, "There will be some who seek to utilize housing from private markets, but we are talking about a spread across the country."