Monday, 9 September 2019
Questions without Notice
My question is for the Minister representing the Minister for Home Affairs, Senator Cash. Six days ago the Department of Home Affairs announced it was terminating its contract with Paladin Holdings, a company providing garrison, security and site-management services on Manus Island. The department says it is satisfied with the standard of services outsourced to Paladin on the basis of reports provided by Paladin, because only two visits were made by officers of the department to Manus in an 18-month period. Minister, $20 million a month is not chickenfeed. Did the department stop officers from visiting Manus? If not, what were the reasons officers from the department did not visit Manus on a monthly basis, as thought necessary by Ernst & Young?
Senator Hanson, in relation to the very specific details that you have requested, I will take that on notice and get back to you. But in relation to the actual contracts, the PNG and Australian governments have both agreed to the extension of the contracts supporting the health, welfare and safety of transferees in Papua New Guinea, including the Paladin contract. This will provide the PNG Immigration and Citizenship Authority time to undertake an open-market, competitive procurement process for service delivery. Australia supports PNG's intent to assume responsibility for service delivery. The PNG Immigration and Citizenship Authority intends to undertake an open-tender procurement process to identify new providers. The process will be independently managed by the PNG Immigration and Citizenship Authority without any involvement from the Australian government. The governments of Australia and PNG will not provide ongoing commentary on future contract investigations. Senator, as I stated, I don't currently have any further details in the brief but I will get them for you if I can.
I'll be looking forward to that, because you didn't even go anywhere near it. I understand you'll get back to me. Actually, the media reports attributed safety concerns as the reason departmental officers were unwilling to visit Manus Island. Are you aware of that and, if so, what are those safety concerns?
Again, you're not across this, hence my last question is: while the department plans to get a private company to do visa processing, how can I—and the Australian people—be confident that these billions will be well spent, given the poor supervision of the Paladin contract?