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Federal funding to keep checks on released detainees

Emergency conditions for freed detainees

People released from immigration detention will come under greater scrutiny, with $255 million allocated to enforce strict visa conditions.

Almost 140 detainees were released recently after the High Court ruled indefinite detention unlawful.

The cohort included some convicted criminals and though they had already served prison sentences, growing outrage and concerns over a perceived danger to the community prompted the government to rush through emergency laws imposing strict visa conditions.

Australian Federal Police will get $88 million for regional response teams and personnel to investigate breaches of such conditions.

On Monday, the government said the money would secure the ability of agencies to ensure individuals abided by the terms of their release, including curfews and wearing ankle monitors, and would increase capacity to bring prosecutions in the event of breaches.

Immigration Minister Andrew Giles said the government was making “strict laws stricter and tough laws tougher”.

“We’re doing all we can to ensure these strict rules are robust and enduring and will withstand legal challenges so we can maintain community safety,” he said on Monday.

“Talking tough doesn’t keep Australians strong and I want to be very clear, we will continue to leave no stone unturned when it comes to ensuring the safety of Australia.”

Of the 138 people released from immigration detention, 132 are being electronically monitored, four are being investigated by the AFP over non-compliance and the remaining two are being worked through as they are “difficult, complex cases” involving health issues.

The package will also include $150 million for Australian Border Force to provide additional staff in compliance, investigations, removal and surveillance functions.

Though some of those released have committed serious crimes including sexual offences against children, others have served time for low-level offending – but all are subject to the same strict visa conditions.

Asked whether the government would apply proportionality to its enforcement, Home Affairs Minister Clare O’Neil said it had put the emergency laws in place to manage community safety while awaiting the reasons behind the High Court’s decision.

“When we receive reasons for decision we will be able to establish durable approaches,” she said.

O’Neil also announced a service to help victims of crimes committed by released detainees engage with support providers and the government.

Opposition immigration spokesman Dan Tehan said the government needs to be more transparent about implementing the emergency laws.

“We want to make sure the government knows what it’s doing when it comes to these detainees,” he told Sky News.

In parliament this week, independent MP Kylea Tink will move to stop the government indefinitely detaining non-citizens and ban it from holding children in immigration detention.

Tink’s proposed legislation was in the works before the High Court decision.

Her private member’s bill will cap immigration detention at 90 days, after which the detainee can apply to the Administrative Appeals Tribunal in the absence of a decision by the minister.

– AAP

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