At the same time as children and their families are being medically evacuated from Nauru, it’s been reported today that Canstruct, a Queensland company, is set to make in the order of $150 million in earnings from the Australian Government for running the Nauru detention centre.
Keren Adams, Director of Legal Advocacy at the Human Rights Law Centre said it was appalling that a so-called family business was profiting from an intentionally abusive system.
"It’s been five long years of misery and suffering for the men, women and children on Nauru. And now people are being evacuated after this prolonged cruel treatment. What kind of business looks at that abuse and sees an opportunity for profit?" said Ms Adams.
According to audited accounts lodged with Australia’s corporate regulator the company made a profit of $43 million dollars in the past seven months. While the exact figure is not known, the contract extension could potentially reach in excess of half a billion dollars, with the total contract expected to bring in $150 million in bottom line earnings when the contract expires in April 2019.
"The offshore detention centre on Nauru continues to be the site of horrific and ongoing violations, including illegal detention, sexual assault and child abuse. There is simply no ethical way for a company to run this centre," said Ms Adams.
Canstruct’s contract was due to end this this year however the contract has been renewed for six months even amidst mounting public pressure to end offshore detention. Canstruct was awarded the detention centre contract last year after Spanish company Ferrovial said it did not want to renew its deal with the Australian Government.
"Australia’s offshore detention is, by design, a regime of cruelty intended to breed hopelessness and despair. Canstruct say they are a family company. If that really is the case it surely recognises that the indefinite warehousing of men, women and children is not an acceptable business for any company," said Ms Adams.
For interviews call:
Michelle Bennett, Director of Communications, Human Rights Law Centre, 0419 100 519