Friday, December 23, 2011

AUSTRALIA'S refugee crisis is delivering handsome profits to many businesses.

asylum seekers
Young face of asylum  ... Atena Hardani / Pic: Lukman S Bintoro Source: The Daily Telegraph
And they keep coming ... asylum seekers arriving at Christmas Island. Source: Supplied
And some of the country's best known charities - including the Red Cross - have also won contracts worth more than $100 million for counselling and other services as the Immigration Department struggles to cope with the surge in unauthorised arrivals.
While the Gillard government and opposition slug it out over asylum seeker policy, The Daily Telegraph can reveal Adagold Aviation has won 56, or two-thirds, of the 87 charter flight contracts let by Immigration this year. Since 2010, it has earned $24 million flying detainees from Christmas Island to the mainland.
Political impasse on boat arrivals
And Darwin businessman, John "Foxy" Robinson, is involved in $250 million contracts to build and run detention centres. Complete Hire & Sales has snared $85 million in Immigration contracts since June 2010 to build centres.
Leading charities are also securing contracts for torture and trauma counselling.
The Australian Red Cross has contracts worth about $85 million over two years for services that include helping asylum seekers with bridging visas to find accommodation and work. One of Australia's biggest foster carers, Life Without Barriers, secured $34 million for services to unaccompanied minors arriving at Christmas Island.
Meanwhile, a three-hour meeting failed to end the political impasse on processing yesterday.
"While agreement was not reached, we have not shut the door on further discussion, there is more work to do on various matters," Immigration Minister Chris Bowen said after meeting Foreign Affairs Minister Kevin Rudd, Deputy Opposition Leader Julie Bishop and opposition immigration spokesman Scott Morrison.
The government made its first contact with Nauru about reopening the mothballed detention centre there as part of a compromise. Mr Bowen said another meeting could be held within weeks.As the politicians argued yesterday, the 10-year-old girl who became the human face of last weekend's asylum-seeker boat tragedy - Atena Hardani - had a tearful reunion with her father, Mohammad.
They are now all that remains of their family; her mother and sister drowned.

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