Fact Sheet 83a – Community Detention
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Expanded community-based detention arrangements (formally known as residence determination) for unaccompanied minors and vulnerable families were announced by the Prime Minister Julia Gillard and the Minister for Immigration and Citizenship Chris Bowen MP on 18 October 2010.
The minister announced on 29 June 2011 that the Australian Government had delivered on its commitment to move the majority of children in immigration detention into community-based arrangements.
Expanding the Australian Government's existing community detention program enables significant numbers of unaccompanied minors and vulnerable family groups to be relocated from immigration detention facilities to community-based accommodation.
The department is continuing to work on moving significant numbers of children and vulnerable family groups out of immigration detention facilities and into community-based accommodation.
The department is also continuing to place a small number of vulnerable single adult males into community detention.
The lead agency for this program is Red Cross. Services are also provided by Hotham Mission Asylum Seeker Project, Mercy Community Services, the Salvation Army, Multicultural Development Association, MacKillop Family Services and Marist Youth Care. These service providers are supported by subcontracted non-government organisations in providing care to clients. Red Cross is the lead provider of services for unaccompanied minors in partnership with a range of specialist services providers.
The community detention program covers housing, residential or out-of-home care for unaccompanied minors, case workers, an allowance to meet daily living costs and a range of activities. No public housing is used.
In line with community standards, children in the program have access to schooling, including English language classes as needed.
Health care is provided through the department's contracted detention health provider, International Health and Medical Services (IHMS).
Community-based detention arrangements, introduced in June 2005, enable people to reside in the community without needing to be escorted.
Only the minister can approve residence determination for people in immigration detention. The minister must consider what is in the publicís best interest when making, varying or revoking a residence determination under the Migration Act 1958. This is a non-compellable power.
Community-based detention arrangements do not give a person any lawful status in Australia (for example, no visa is granted at this stage), nor does it give them the rights and entitlements of a person living in the community on a visa (for example, the right to study or work). The person remains administratively in immigration detention while living in the community.
Clients are informed of the conditions of their community detention arrangements upon entry into the program. Conditions include a mandatory requirement for the client to report regularly to the department and/or his or her service provider, and reside at the address specified by the minister.
The department will determine the person's immigration status and decide that they will either be granted a visa or be assisted to return to their own country or removed from Australia.
In managing the expansion of the residence determination program, the department also receives independent advice from the Minister's Council on Asylum Seekers and Detention (MCASD), which works closely with the department to support implementation of the program.
See: Minister's Council on Asylum Seekers and Detention(MCASD)
Further information is available on the department's website.
The department also operates a national general enquiries line.
Telephone: 131 881
Hours of operation: Monday to Friday from 8.30 am to 4.30 pm. Recorded information is available outside these hours.
Fact Sheet 83a. Produced by the National Communications Branch, Department of Immigration and Citizenship, Canberra.
Last reviewed May 2012.
© Commonwealth of Australia 2009.