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Refugee Council of Australia
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Australia’s detention policies

Where are people detained?

Types of detention facilities

People are detained in different types of places (often called ‘detention facilities’) in Australia:

  • Immigration Detention Centres (IDC) – closed detention centres for those considered to be higher risk
  • Immigration Transit Accommodation (ITA) – lower-security centres
  • Immigration Residential Housing (IRH) – a place where people are able to self-cater and go in the community to shop and take part in community events
  • Alternative Places of Detention (APOD) – places where those who are at lowest risk, or for people who need medical treatment.

According to the Department of Immigration, ‘in addition to detention facilities, APODs can be in the form of rented housing in the community, hotel rooms and other community housing through arrangements with other government departments’. If a person in detention is transferred to a hospital for physical or mental health issues, the hospital can also be considered an APOD for the duration of their stay.

The Australian Government considers that ITAs, IRHs and APODs are suitable for housing children.

The offshore detention facilities in Nauru and Papua New Guinea operate differently to other Australian detention facilities because, being located outside Australia’s jurisdiction, they are not subject to the same laws and policies.

Current detention facilities

Australia currently uses the following places to detain people:

  • IDCs:
    • Yongah Hill IDC (located in Northam, WA)
    • Perth IDC (located in Perth, WA), Maribyrnong IDC (located in Melbourne, VIC)
    • Villawood IDC (located in Sydney, NSW)
  • ITA:
    • Adelaide ITA (located in Adelaide, SA),
    • Brisbane ITA (located in Brisbane, QLD)
    • Melbourne ITA (located in Melbourne, Victoria)
    • Northern Alternative Place of Detention (located in Eaton, NT)

See current detention facilities and contact details

Statistics on people in detention

Australians can visit people in detention. However, the policies are making it harder for people to visit detention.

Our report, Unwelcome Visitors

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