Catholic Social Services Australia chair Francis Sullivan says it is a disgrace that the companies running Australia’s offshore processing regime in Nauru continue to make huge profits as the number of refugees on the island continues to fall.
The company running the detention offshore processing centre in Nauru made $101 million profit last financial year – more than $500,000 for each of the fewer than 200 people held on the island at the time, according to its most recent accounts filed with the corporate regulator.
“The cost to hold a single refugee on Nauru has escalated tenfold to more than $350,000 every month – or $4.3m a year – since 2016,” Mr Sullivan said.
“In May 2016, Australia held 1193 people on Nauru at a cost of some $45,000 a month per person, or $534,000 a year according to Government figures.
“As numbers have fallen to approximately 115 people currently held on the island, the cost has ballooned.
“Australian taxpayers are now paying more than $4 million each year to hold a single refugee or asylum seeker on Nauru, or nearly $12,000 a day.
“Imagine what that sort of money could provide to Australia’s most disadvantaged if only the Government were to adopt a reasonable, compassionate approach to refugees seeking a safe home and a life beyond war-torn countries,” Mr Sullivan said.