New meeting over escape concerns

New meeting over escape concerns

The latest breakout came on Sunday when two Vietnamese men absconded.

It was the third escape incident since the centre opened in June, 2012

Two men escaped late last month and five others absconded on August 17 last year.

Two have not been recaptured. Mr Pollard said he had been assured that asylum seekers were not dangerous.

‘I’m still comfortable that the centre is a good thing (for Northam) but we don’t want to keep having escapes,’ he said.

‘At a community meeting last month we were told the fences were adequate but it was suggested that perhaps more staffing was needed.

‘As far as I understand, more staff were employed.’

United Voice the union which represents workers at detention facilities, says the safety of officers is at risk because 35 staff members are required on each shift but, at most, there are only 28 rostered on.

Last week, union members signed and presented a petition to management but said they had not received a response.

Immigration Minister Scott Morrison said this week the Federal Government would close four detention centres, saving almost $90 million a year.

He said detainees at Scherger (Queensland), Leonora (WA) and Port Augusta (South Australia) would be moved to other centres. Pontville (Tasmania) is now empty.

Mr Pollard said it was possible the Northam facility would receive additional asylum seekers from the centres.

Mr Pollard said there would be another community forum about the centre held towards the end of the month.