Government provides $255 million to boost resources to monitor released immigration detainees
Michelle Grattan explains the governments $255 million funding boost to monitor immigration detainees in a further response to the recent High Court decision.

The Albanese government, still struggling with the fallout from the High Court decision forcing the release of immigration detainees, is allocating $255 million to beef up resources to keep tabs on them.

The funding will enable agencies to “ensure individuals are abiding by visa condition,” and to prosecute them if they do not, Attorney-General Mark Dreyfus, Home Affairs Minister Clare O'Neil, and Immigration Minister Andrew Giles said in a statement.

The conditions include curfews and ankle monitors.

So far, 141 people have been released. The government has not said how many are wearing monitoring devices. It is not clear whether more people will be released and if so, how many. A total number of 340 has been referred to as being those potentially eligible for release.

There will be $150 million for the Home Affairs Department and Australian Border Force to add to the number of staff pursuing compliance, investigations, removal and surveillance duties. The extra capacity will increase the ability gain intelligence about high-risk people.

Another $88 million will go to the Australian Federal Police for establishing regional response teams and investigating visa breaches that constitute a criminal offence.

Expanded funding of $17 million for the Commonwealth Director of Public Prosecutions will give more capacity to prosecute those who breach visa conditions.

O'Neil said the government’s only priority was “protecting the safety of the community within the limits of the law”.

Giles said the expanded funding contrasted with cuts made in the Liberals’ time.

The government rushed through legislation for the monitoring, and is examining the possibility for further legislation enabling preventative detention of people who had committed the most serious crimes includihg murder and rape. But this is likely to have to wait for the High Court to issue its reasons for the decision.

The Conversation

Michelle Grattan does not work for, consult, own shares in or receive funding from any company or organisation that would benefit from this article, and has disclosed no relevant affiliations beyond their academic appointment.


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