12 Jul 2014

Offshore detention more costly for Australia

1:31 pm on 12 July 2014

Australia is paying almost twice as much to detain asylum seekers offshore than in centres on the mainland.

The CEO of the Refugee Council of Australia, Paul Power, says the cost of bridging visas and community detention is far less than keeping people in offshore facilities, like Manus Island and Nauru.

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Photo: AAP / Dept of Immigration and Citizenship

He says the finance department estimates that offshore detention costs more than $400,000 per person per year in detention, while detention in Australia cost $239,000.

Mr Power says there's no reason to jusify the expense, as despite the long-running policy on mandatory detention for asylum seekers arriving by boat, boat arrivals have only increased.

"And there is no obvious reasons for doing that particulaly when the majority of asylum seekers have come by boat who are within Australia are actually living in the community in either community detention or on bridging visas. You know a lot of it is about politics and about the way in which the issue is perceived by elements of the Australian population."

The CEO of the Refugee Council of Australia Paul Power.