17 Dec 2011

Overcrowding on Christmas Island

2:24 pm on 17 December 2011

The detention centre for asylum seekers on Christmas Island is getting overcrowded again.

The ABC reports that according to official Immigration Department figures, 1203 people are currently in detention there. Its official capacity is 1116.

The facility was originally built for 400 people.

The department has started shifting asylum seekers to mainland Australia, but new arrivals are landing more quickly than they can be flown out.

The ABC reports there has been a surge in boat arrivals since the federal government had to shelve a people swap deal with Malaysia.

Another boat carrying 102 people arrived at the island on Wednesday.

Christmas Island Workers Union general secretary Kaye Bernard visited the detention centre this week and said overcrowding is a major concern.

''When facilities are way beyond their capacity to house people, it's not good for the detainees and it's certainly no good for the workers there,'' she said.