asylum compo bill tops $16m

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    "Asylum compo bill tops $16m

    June 12, 2011
    .ALMOST $8 million in compensation has been paid to 55 asylum seekers and detainees in the past two years for injuries and psychological damage suffered while in Australian detention centres.

    The payments bring the total amount of compensation paid in the past decade to more than $16 million, Department of Immigration figures show. From 2000 to 2009, there were 54 compensation cases.

    But the bill to taxpayers is expected to grow as another 32 claims for compensation were lodged with the courts between July 2009 and March. A spokeswoman for the DoI said most of these cases related to time in immigration detention and involved 10 people who arrived by boat.

    Advertisement: Story continues below Advocates have warned that, as the number of asylum seekers and others being kept in detention centres continues to rise, so will the number of cases for compensation.

    A spokesman for the Immigration Minister, Chris Bowen, said asylum seekers had appropriate access to health and mental health services in detention, including psychologists and other mental health practitioners.

    ''The payouts you refer to relate to people in immigration detention prior to August 2007 and most related to the 247 cases that were referred by the department to the Ombudsman following the Palmer and Comrie reports,'' the spokesman said. ''The increase in compensation over the past three years is due to the department resolving many of these.''

    Julian Burnside, QC, said there would be many more cases before the courts unless the way people were treated in detention changed. ''It is so utterly predictable,'' he said. ''Psychiatrists would have told us this would happen. History has shown us this has happened, and [continues] to happen.''

    ?? A Fijian women in a wheelchair who suffered a brain tumour and now has Parkinson's disease will be thrown out of the country, even though her children are Australian citizens and her primary carers.

    The Department of Immigration has refused a visa for Kushma Wati Kishore and her husband, and are intent on forcing them to return to Fiji where they have no home and family able to care for her.

    Despite pleas to the government to intervene, the department says she must leave tomorrow.

    Mrs Kishore and her family are devastated. ''We don't have anywhere to go,'' she said yesterday.

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