Nauru’s tent city shames Australia - ALA

11th Sep 2012

The ALA reiterates its opposition to offshore processing, following reports of tents being erected to house asylum seekers for up to six months during the wet season on Nauru.

ABC News reported such federal government moves as it responded to information that permanent structures could not be completed, ready for occupancy, for another six months.

The wet season in Nauru starts in November and runs through to April.

“To house vulnerable and traumatised people in tents during the tropical wet season is deplorable,” ALA National President, Anthony Kerin said.

“We raise concerns about the health care and susceptibility to sickness and disease in such conditions,” Mr Kerin said.

“We’ve said it before, and we’ll say it again: the Commonwealth will be held liable in the future for compensation payouts to these people should this policy proceed.”

Mr Kerin said large amounts of compensation had been paid out during the past decade.

“The Parliament needs to know that the cost of this policy is not only financial. The human cost is incredibly high,” he said.

“The ALA also highlights concerns that the Memorandum of Understanding between Australia and Papua New Guinea signed on the weekend ensuring offshore processing includes increased aid to PNG as a new provision.

"The federal government is handing out gold stars to PNG for being an offshore processing centre, but failing to reveal that Australia will not only bear the costs of all processing, but will provide PNG with financial development assistance as a reward for helping to house Australia’s refugee burden,” said Mr Kerin.

“The purpose of overseas development assistance is to support poverty alleviation and increased fulfilment of the millennium development goals. Aid should not be distributed in order for Australia to get what it wants.”

Tags: Human rights Compensation Asylum seekers and refugees