An MP from Australia’s Northern Territory, Warren Snowdon, says there is no excuse for holding fishermen suspected of illegal fishing, on their boats when there is a detention facility now available in Darwin.
A member of the Labor opposition, Mr Snowdon, says he can not understand why a multi-million dollar purpose-built detention centre in Darwin is sitting empty while crews languish on boats.
“They have presumably got all the infrastructure facilities that are required otherwise they wouldn’t have spent the money,” he said.
“What is it that’s holding them up?
“Only the Government can answer that question but there should be no reason at all why any Indonesian fisherman is quarantined in the harbour when they can be quarantined on land in one of these, well, in this facility.”
His comments follow concerns raised recently by the Indonesian Ambassador to Australia, Imron Cotan.
Mr Cotan said that crews caught in Australian waters should be detained on land rather than in Darwin Harbour, where an Indonesian man died last month on his boat while awaiting charges.
A coroner found the man had died of natural causes.
The Government has said it will transfer the men to land-based facilities later this year
Radio Australia – Australia