December 17, 2012
Asylum seekers have started arriving at the Pontville Detention Centre in southern Tasmania.
The Immigration Department says the 95 asylum seekers have recently arrived in Australia.
The single men from Afghanistan were transferred yesterday from Christmas Island to Pontville, about 20 minutes from Hobart.
The department’s Sandi Logan says the first arrivals will be subject to the new no-advantage policy.
“All 95 have arrived in Australia after August 13 and therefore they remain subject to the no-advantage onshore policy which includes the possibility of being transferred to regional processing arrangements sometime in the future,” he said.
The centre can accommodate 400 people and there will now be regular transfers.
The Tasmanian Asylum Seeker Support Group’s Emily Conlon says a community visitor program will start soon.
Ms Conolon says the program provided crucial support to the previous group of asylum seekers in Tasmania.
“One man told us that it was the only thing that kept him alive from week to week amidst the despair and the stress and mental trauma that he was under and a lot of people said that it was something that made them feel very humanised and kept their hopes alive,” Ms Conlon said.