June 17, 2013
A Tasmanian Mayor says tensions are inevitable at the Pontville Detention Centre because hundreds of young men are cooped up together.
Six detainees were taken to hospital with minor injuries on Saturday after what is understood to be a fight between the teenagers.
Police are investigating and say they have not laid any charges at this stage.
The Brighton Mayor Tony Foster, whose municipality includes Pontville, says the incident needs to be put in perspective.
“I think what we’ve got to be reminded of here is that we do have these young lads cooped up behind wire fencing .. without any family around them and I think from time to time a disturbance like this this may happen,” Mr Foster said.
“I think the same sort of thing probably happens in our community from time to time.”
The Immigration Department will not comment on whether the fight was racially motivated.
Neighbours have told the ABC they heard voices shouting from the detention centre early yesterday evening.
Tasmania Police responded to a call from the service providers Serco about 9:45pm after reports of an assault.
A spokesman for the Immigration Department says the young men were returned to the centre this morning.
It is understood they were all under 18, as the centre now runs as an unaccompanied minors facility with close to 270 detainees.
No staff were injured in last night’s incident.
It is the second disturbance at the centre in less than a month.
In May, one guard and one detainee were injured in a disturbance involving 50 asylum seekers.
Two groups of detainees had to be separated in that incident.
Pontville had enjoyed a reputation as one of the best detention centres in the country until the incident last month.
The department will not comment on whether the latest incident was racially motivated.