200 children to be released from Tasmania's Pontville immigration detention centre into community

Almost 200 children will be moved out of the Pontville immigration detention centre in Tasmania and into the community, while more than 60 children are being detained on Christmas Island awaiting offshore transfer.
Huts at the Pontville Detention Centre outside Hobart
Some of the children from Pontville will be moved to community-based detention in other states, but some will be moved to new group homes being set up for the first time in southern Tasmania.

It is the first time unaccompanied minors will be able to move to group home detention in Tasmania.
Immigration Minister Tony Burke says the children will be moved within the fortnight, leaving 75 still detained at Pontville.
"We've got between five and seven group homes that we're expecting in the next fortnight to open in Hobart, or in and around Hobart," he said.
"There are some occasions where we have a group of minors where one of them is very young and we try in those circumstances to only have the family members staying there.
"Over the course of this week we believe we've got places in the community for 100 and a further 100 the following week."
The asylum seekers are known as unaccompanied minors because they have arrived by boat without their parents.
Some of the children who have been held at Pontville have self harmed, while others describe the former army barracks as being like a prison.
Children as young as 11 have been held at Pontville.
The youngest child there now is 13 and he is expected to be moved into the community within days.
Opposition immigration spokesman Scott Morrison says he welcomes the moves to get the children out of detention.
"I have no doubt that the Government is earnestly trying to take people out of held detention there as unaccompanied minors," Mr Morrison said.
"And if the Government fails to get that completed by the time of the election and if the Coalition is elected, then I would think to pick up where Tony Burke has left off on that point.
"The Government hasn't chosen to engage with the Coalition during this caretaker period on those arrangements."

Children still detained on Christmas Island

It is a different story for the unaccompanied children who have arrived since the Government announced asylum seekers who arrive by boat will not be settled as refugees in Australia.
Sixty-two unaccompanied children are being held on Christmas Island. The youngest is 11.
Mr Burke says the children cannot be moved offshore yet because there is nowhere to put them.
"So unaccompanied minors, neither Nauru nor Manus Island has the facilities ready to the standard or the configuration that would be required to be able to properly look after them," he said.
"Now, the fact that we hadn't sent families yet was causing an argument to go through some of the smuggling pipelines that families should still get on boats.
"And I was very determined to make sure we got family accommodation up and running quickly, because I didn't want to see a repeat of significant numbers of families and indeed children being among the people who drowned in the Indian Ocean.
"So we've got that up and running now in Nauru. A lot of people didn't expect that we would, but that's now up and running.
"To be able to get the unaccompanied minors' accommodation going properly, we need to work out a different configuration again for them because you need a much higher number of people to be providing case work and looking after individuals than you provide for single adult males."
Mr Morrison says the Coalition also plans to move the unaccompanied minors offshore.
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