3400 asylum seekers move out of detention and into community

MORE than 3400 asylum seekers have been moved into communities around Australia since October 2010.
New figures released by the Federal Government reveal that 63 per cent of asylum seeker children have also been moved into communities.

The numbers have been released just months after the Government expanded its bridging visas program - an option it turned to when its plans to send asylum seekers to Malaysia failed.

Labor has presided over an increased number of boar arrivals as both sides of politics fail to agree on an offshore processing scheme.

Releasing the figures yesterday that cover the period since the community detention program was expanded in 2010, Immigration Minister Chris Bowen said people approved for community detention were the most vulnerable in the detention network.
"The are children, families with children, or because they have serious mental or physical health issues or have suffered torture and trauma," he said.

There are 630 children either in or moving into community detention, of which 193 are unaccompanied minors.

The figures show all eligible accompanied children who arrived in Australia prior to November 20, and all eligible unaccompanied children who arrived prior to December 7, have been moved into community arrangements.

However the Government has ruled out some children based on "security, behaviour or risk requirements".

Opposition immigration spokesman Scott Morrison said the problem of children making the dangerous journey to Australia on boats had been one of Labor's making.

"When the Coalition left office there were no children who had arrived by boat in detention," Mr Morrison said.

"Under Labor's failed border protection policies, thousands of children have made treacherous boat journeys."

But Mr Bowen said the Labor government valued the community detention program.

"The Government recognises the importance of the community detention program, which has been particularly successful in providing appropriate care for people - especially children - accommodated in the community while their asylum claims are assessed," he said.


A previous version of this story stated that 3400 asylum seekers had been moved into communities since October 2011. It is actually 2010.

And in the third paragraph it originally stated that "The numbers have been released just months after the Government expanded its community detention program". This has been corrected to "bridging visas program".

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