New fears of asylum seeker centre

FEARS that an Ipswich jail will be turned into an immigration detention centre have heightened following the scuttling of the Federal Government’s Malaysian asylum seeker solution.

The High Court decision this week put the future of offshore processing in limbo and the LNP yesterday said the judgment raised concerns about the future of the Borallon Correctional Centre.

LNP Shadow Minister for Police John-Paul Langbroek called on the State Government to rule out the Ipswich prison being used as an immigration detention centre.

Both State and Federal Governments have previously confirmed there had been initial discussions about the site, which will be mothballed as a prison next year, to become a federal detention centre.

Corrective Services Minister Neil Roberts said “there is no commitment and no agreement” yesterday but Mr Langbroek called for a tougher stance.

“Ipswich and Queensland should not become the dumping ground for illegal boat people because Julia Gillard and Labor have lost control of our borders,” he said.

“I challenge Anna Bligh and her prisons Minister to stand up for the interests of the people of Ipswich and rule out a late night deal to turn the Borallon jail into a detention centre for illegal immigrants.”

He said the Premier had to tell the Prime Minister that Ipswich won’t become a dumping ground for failed refugee policy.

Ipswich West LNP candidate Sean Choat said residents feared the rioting and violent scenes that have recently been seen at detention centres in Villawood and Christmas Island might be repeated at Borallon.

“There’s definitely a lot of concern in the community,” Mr Choat said.

In a statement, Mr Roberts said the of using Borallon Correctional Centre as a detention centre "is not a priority for the State Government and the Government has no interest in progressing this matter with the Federal Government".

“Only preliminary discussions have been held with the Federal Government on this issue,” Mr Roberts said.

He said all prisoners are due to be moved from Borallon to other correctional facilities in the state by early next year.

A Department of Immigration and Citizenship spokesman said the site was one of many that had been suggested to the department.

The spokesman said Wednesday’s court decision had no impact on their plans.


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