Asylum Seekers Headed For Darwin Hotels

Asylum seekers headed for Darwin hotels

The ABC News (Australia), June 19, 2010

Twenty-three asylum seekers are set to be transferred from Christmas Island to Darwin this afternoon.

The six Afghans and 12 Sri Lankans are in family groups and will be put up in hotels or public housing – not in detention.

A spokesman from the Immigration Department says the Christmas Island and Darwin Detention Centres are not full.

He says 2,401 asylum seekers are currently housed at Christmas Island – 100 short of the detention centre's capacity.

It is a similar situation in Darwin where 449 people are being held.

The Department says there are more transfers from Christmas Island scheduled for tomorrow.

The Federal Government has been scouting Queensland and Western Australian for potential towns to house asylum seekers.

Last week it re-opened the controversial detention centre near Curtin Airbase in WA and it was revealed yesterday that officials visited the Muresk Agricultural Institute and at least two other sites in Northam.

Shire president Stephen Pollard confirmed the Northam Army Camp and old hospital site are under consideration.

Last week the Government confirmed it had contacted a company who provides workers' accommodation in Dalby, on Queensland's Darling Downs, about housing people on the outskirts of town.