Three teenagers were injured and taken to hospital following disturbances at the Serco-run Melbourne Immigration Transit Accommodation Facility yesterday. The detention centre, part of an overstretched Australian detention estate, currently holds nearly 50 young Afghan men in overcrowded conditions with little access to recreation activities. The Asylum Seeker Resource Centre have also claimed that poor management of the facility by Serco, who run all the country's detention centres on behalf of the Australian government.
Australia has recently had to open new holding centres on the mainland that had been closed following the introduction of the 'Pacific Solution' in 2001, as Christmas Island, the main off-shore immigration denotion centre, became overcrowded. Most notorious of these is the Curtin detention centre, widely described as an 'outback gulag', was closed in 2002 after a third of its 340 detainees were involved involved in a riot. The centre was also known for the high rate of self-harm amongst its inmates, yet that did not stop the Rudd government from reopening it last month for a planned 200-300 mainly Sri Lankan and Afghan detainees. The Baxter detention centre was also reopened to house sixty 13 to 18-year-olds from Afghanistan, Iran and Iraq.