Immigration Minister Brendan O’Connor
Immigration Minister Brendan O’Connor

Detention centre for families seeking asylum to be leased

A NEW onshore detention centre will be leased near Darwin for families of people seeking asylum.

Immigration Minister Brendan O'Connor said the new centre would accommodate those asylum-seekers arriving by boat in family groups.

The centre, at Blaydin Point in the Northern Territory, will be scaled up as more people arrive, with the first transfers expected within four weeks of the government signing a lease.

Mr O'Connor said the new centre would provide education and health services, and new arrivals would be held until the necessary checks and security clearances were completed.

"The stay in a detention centre for families will be for the shortest possible time and only while their mandatory check are undertaken," he said.

"If they are found to be refugees, they will be granted a visa to remain in Australia. If they are not, they will be expected to depart Australia."

The new centre comes as existing detention centres continue to struggle under a rising number of arrivals.

Latest figures from the Immigration Department from reveal 2217 new arrivals were transferred to detentions around the country in April this year.

In the past week, 685 new "irregular maritime arrivals" were intercepted off the coast and transferred to existing on and offshore centres.

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