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Changes to community detention

Red Cross welcomes children and families into community-based accommodation

Monday October 18, 2010

Australian Red Cross has welcomed the Federal Government's announcement today that it would move children and families into community accommodation under residence determination arrangements.

CEO Robert Tickner said as a humanitarian organisation Red Cross focussed on providing support for the most vulnerable members of society, and there was little doubt that asylum seekers were amongst those most in need.

'Red Cross has been greatly concerned about the use of alternative detention arrangements for families and children that are not sustainable or appropriate,' Mr Tickner said.

"While these may not have been considered by governments to be 'immigration detention centres' they have many of the hallmarks that still make them entirely inappropriate for children, families and other vulnerable groups, including security monitoring, limited access to social supports and other services especially for those in remote locations, inability to participate in community life and inability to live as a family group," he said

'There is a strong need for viable and sustainable community alternatives to these arrangements, and Red Cross welcomes the opportunity to be involved in any response that addresses these issues.'

For the last five years, Red Cross has been the primary contracted agency to deliver accommodation, support and care for people in residence determinations. We have cared for hundreds of families over this time and believe a community accommodation model is much more appropriate for particularly vulnerable groups.

'We are committed to playing an ongoing leading role in this critical humanitarian work,' Mr Tickner said. 'And we look forward to working with the Government and other community organisations to coordinate care in the community for unaccompanied minors and families with children.'

For media enquiries or to arrange interviews contact Red Cross media adviser Kim Batchelor on 0457 542 113 or