The suspect in an explosion at a Commonwealth Bank branch at Springvale, in Melbourne’s south-east, is a member of the Burmese community who arrived by boat in Australia in 2013 and was seeking a temporary protection visa.
Pamela Curr, formerly with the Asylum Seeker Resource Centre, said contacts had told her the man went into detention after arriving on a bridging visa.
The man had been waiting for a letter from the Immigration Department offering him a temporary protection visa (TPV), as a member of a cohort of refugees who were fast-tracked following legislation passed in 2014, Ms Curr said.
A member of the Burmese Rohinyga community in Melbourne, Habib Habib, said the man was close to his friends in the small local community, and he was told the man had been struggling mentally and financially.
Mr Habib said the man was single and lived with other single men in Springvale.
“It should not have happened. It is nothing to do with Commonwealth Bank and the people with those injuries,” Mr Habib said.
“So I’m very sorry for that.”
He said the man was mentally ill and weighed down by financial problems and concerns about his immigration status and his family back home.
Mr Habib said the man was from the southern part of Myanmar, was a Muslim and identified as Rohingya.
The man arrived when he was under-age and should be cared for, Mr Habib said.
“His service provider should’ve been aware about that and Immigration Department must know about that,” he said.
“They have to look after the people. They have responsibilities So maybe they are not doing enough.”
Two people in critical condition
Twenty-seven people, including several children, were injured after a man walked into the bank in Springvale Road on Friday and started a fire.