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Western Australia Premier Colin Barnett

Western Australia Houses More Asylum Seekers Than Any Other Mainland State

Victor P Taffa

More than 4,700 asylum seekers are currently being housed on Christmas Island and on the Australian mainland. Of those housed on the mainland, almost half are detained in Western Australian facilities.

“Housing asylum seekers have become a major issue in Australia as policies by the Federal Labor Government continue to fail.” Premier Colin Barnett said.

“Western Australia is willing to share the burden created by these failed policies, however, it’s clear we are being used as the Commonwealth’s Main Asylum Seeker Prison.”




Figures obtained by the Department of the Premier and Cabinet show that of the mainland States, New South Wales houses less than 9% of Irregular Maritime Arrivals (IMAs), Victoria, Queensland and South Australia all house under 3%, leaving WA with a massive 47 % of IMAs.

Premier Barnett said WA was also housing about 95 % of people charged with people smuggling.

“Western Australia is at the frontline for IMAs, but this should not automatically make it appropriate to detain a disproportionate majority of them in this State.” the Premier said.

“Detaining more and more people in these isolated and remote areas puts extreme pressure on our ability as a State to provide adequate health, education and law and order measures.”

“I am also concerned about speculation there will be a substantial increase at Curtin Immigration Detention Centre and a significant number will be housed in Northam.” Premier Barnett said.

“There has been no formal advice that Northam will be used as an asylum seeker facility and Leonora, which was originally going to hold 70 people in May this year, has already increased to 200 people.”

“I am calling on the new Minister for Immigration, Chris Bowen, to show the courtesy of openly and honestly engaging with the Western Australian State Government on where future asylum seekers will be housed and how many more this State is expected to receive.”


Irregular Maritime Arrivals

Statistics by WA Facilities and Other States

As at COB September 14, 2010


Current IMA Caseload

Curtin Immigration Detention Centre


Leonora Alternative Place of Detention


Perth Immigration Detention Centre


Perth Immigration Residential Housing


Perth Alternative Places of Detention


Total Number of IMAs in WA


Christmas Island


Northern Territory


New South Wales




South Australia




Total Number of IMAs in Other States


Total Number of IMAs



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