The federal government has failed to meet its own deadline for closing the Maribyrnong Immigration Detention Centre.
Immigration minister Peter Dutton and his department promised in May 2016 that the centre would be permanently closed within two years, along with Sydney’s Villawood Immigration Detention Centre and the Perth Immigration Residential Housing Facility.
Yet the latest available figures show the number of people being detained at the centre continues to climb.
The April 26 Immigration Detention and Community Statistics Summary shows 106 people remain at Maribyrnong IDC, including 97 men and nine women – an increase of five men since March.
Refugee advocates have long expressed concern for asylum seekers housed at the centre, where they are often forced to share rooms with convicted criminals awaiting deportation.
Figures obtained under freedom of information showed guards restrained and handcuffed asylum seekers or deployed other force at a rate far outstripping other facilities.
Guards had come under scrutiny over the use of excessive force, with two sacked for serious
Raids on the centre had uncovered illegal drugs, ice pipes and even a suspected ice laboratory.
The closures promised in 2016 were due to be staged over 24 months, to allow for infrastructure upgrades across remaining centres such as the Melbourne Immigration Transit Accommodation centre in Broadmeadows.
A spokeswoman for the Department of Home Affairs said despite the delay and increase in
detainees, the Maribyrnong Immigration Detention Centre is anticipated to close by the end of the year.
“Once vacated, the site at Maribyrnong will be sold,” she said.
The spokeswoman said the placement of detainees within the immigration detention network is subject to a number of factors, including the overall capacity of the network.
“Detainees accommodated at the facilities which are to close will be transferred to other facilities in the immigration detention network.”