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The Australian Government has today agreed to pay $70 million in a class action settlement brought by 1,905 people detained on Manus Island.

The settlement today by the Australian Government and private corporations contracted to carry out immigration detention on Manus, halts the opportunity for a long awaited independent examination of the practice of offshore immigration detention by consecutive Australian Governments.

Tim O’Connor of the Refugee Council of Australia (RCOA) said that this settlement provides some justice for those warehoused offshore, yet only the start of the costs and reparations that Australian Governments are liable for, due to the policy of offshore immigration detention.

“The Refugee Council welcomes this substantial pay-out by the Turnbull Government although it delivers only a modicum of compensation for the pain these 1905 people have endured. The Australian Government have folded today as they know an independent judicial examination of the practice of offshore detention would shine a light on how brutal, damaging and inhumane these practices are.

“Today should be the final nail in the coffin of Australia’s abusive warehousing of people who came to us seeking safety. This class action settlement provides an opportunity for our Government to put an end to the destruction of so many peoples lives, to the damage it does to Australia’s international reputation and to the blank cheque our Government uses to fund offshore detention.

Yet with another court case pending in PNG, the similar situation many face on Nauru and the ongoing billions Australia is spending on offshore detention, the bottomless bucket with which our Government funds offshore detention appears unlikely to be limited in the near future.

“This decision again proves the Australian Government knows its offshoring policy is not sustainable and therefore should urgently bring these people on Manus and Nauru to safety in Australia so that they can finally begin to rebuild their lives.”

Media enquiries: Laura Stacey 0488 035 535