Asylum seekers are spending an average of 445 days in immigration detention.
That’s over 14 months.
It’s a really long time to be locked up, either in onshore detention facilities or offshore centers on Nauru and Manus Island.
“The average period of time for people held in detention facilities steadily increased from July 2013 to January 2015,” the December 2015 detention and community statistics report from the Department of Immigration and Border Protection says.
“Between January 2015 and March 2015, the average period of time for people in held detention facilities decreased.
“Since May 2015, the average days in held immigration detention has increased steadily, exceeding the peak of January 2015.”
Opposition Leader Bill Shorten has criticised the wait times.
“Labor supports regional processing but the idea that we have got people languishing in Australian facilities, or facilities partly funded by Australia for periods of 450 days on average, is too long,” he said.
“Women and children should not be languishing indefinitely.”
While the amount of time in detention has increased, the number of detainees has fallen significantly.
When the Coalition came to office in September 2013, detainees were spending an average of around 100 days in immigration detention.
In August 2015, when Malcolm Turnbull became Prime Minister, the average time was closer to 400 days. It has since risen.
Immigration Minister Peter Dutton said the government had to deal with a huge number of asylum seekers, inherited from Labor.
“Labor had almost 2,000 children in detention and the total number of people peaked at more than 10,300. We have reduced that total number in detention to just under 1,800 which includes seven children off boats and 72 children who are here temporarily and are due to return to Nauru,” he said.