The $1 billion Australian taxpayers are spending on private company Serco's detention centre contract would be better off going toward a public denticare scheme, the Australian Greens said today.
"Letting detainees live in the community after initial health and security checks while their protection claims are assessed is 90 percent cheaper and 100 percent fairer compared to a detention centre," Greens' immigration spokesperson, Sen. Sarah Hanson-Young, said.
"Given that an asylum seeker living in the community costs an average $10,400 a year compared to $137,000 in a detention centre, we know the more responsible use of public money.
"The government and opposition are playing taxpayers for mugs if they think maintaining an expensive and cruel detention centre network is worth it.
"Australians want to see better uses of their tax dollars, which could be redistributed to provide vital services such as a national denticare scheme or more money for schools, instead of going to the foreign-owned Serco."