Dangers of detention centres under control, says safety watchdog

Comcare’s CEO says she’s appalled by the latest salvo from its vocal critics over safety in immigration detention centres, based on an FOI release. Soon a senate committee will make its own judgement.

Federal work health and safety watchdog Comcare and the Department of Immigration and Border Protection have answered critics and asserted they are making a genuine effort to maintain workplace safety in immigration detention centres for all employees, contractors, visitors and detainees.

This comes as a senate select committee is due to report by the end of July on the responsibilities of the Commonwealth government in connection with the management and operation of the Regional Processing Centre in Nauru.

Lawyers opposed to current government policy have ramped up pressure on DIBP, and recently targeted Comcare’s role as a watchdog. Yesterday, the Australian Lawyers Alliance obtained and released a Freedom of Information document regarding 449 dangerous incidents in detention centres during 2013-14, angering the health and safety agency.

ALA spokesperson Greg Barns says Comcare has failed in its duty and did not investigate all the incidents, which included deaths, electric shocks, assaults, alleged sexual assault, self-harm, and mental health hospitalisations in detention centres and “the attempted suicide by young people”.

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