Nearly six years into the revival of its offshore detention policy, Australia’s government is facing a story of corporate and administrative intrigue that highlights the utter unsustainability of our current approach to people seeking our protection.
The details of Australia’s contract with a little-known security provider called Paladin, as first reported in the Australian Financial Review, were colourful: Paladin was registered to a beach shack on Kangaroo Island and had a post box in Singapore.
According to media reports, there were mysterious characters, including a company director denied a PNG visa and sanctioned by Australia’s home affairs department. The Australian government also ran a “limited tender” process, inviting only one party, Paladin, to bid.
The dollar figures were extraordinary: the contract to provide housing and security for refugees on Papua New Guinea’s Manus Island was for A$423 million over 22 months, or A$20.9 million a month. That’s about A$1,600 per day per person – not including food or welfare services.
A suite at a five-star hotel in Sydney costs less than this. Of course, the conditions for a refugee on Manus Island are nothing like those in a luxury downtown hotel. A retired logistics manager estimated that the real cost of accommodation is A$108 per person per night, which explains why Paladin is estimated to be pocketing a profit of A$17 million a month.
Keeping refugees on Nauru and Manus Island costs Australian taxpayers 56 times more than it would to have them live among us.
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This post was written by j4rsa