The Department of Immigration and Border Protection has today released the report of the Review into recent allegations relating to conditions and circumstances at the Regional Processing Centre in Nauru.
The independent review was carried out by the former Integrity Commissioner and former Head of the Australian Commission for Law Enforcement Integrity, Mr Philip Moss.
The report found more needs to be done so that any allegation of inappropriate or criminal behaviour within the Regional Processing Centre is investigated, and any alleged perpetrators dealt with under Nauruan law.
The Department has accepted all of the Review's 19 recommendations and has begun work to implement them, in cooperation with the Government of Nauru, service providers and the Australian Federal Police.
A full list of recommendations and the Department's response to them is attached to this release.
In particular, the Department and its partner agencies are committed to supporting the Government of Nauru to maintain a safe environment for transferees and settled refugees, especially in the area of child protection.
Mr Moss acknowledged the difficult environment in which officers of the Department, service provider staff and Nauruan authorities are working, in which decisive action must sometimes be taken in support of the Government of Nauru to ensure the good order of the centre.
The Department thanks Mr Moss for his thorough review of the allegations and the circumstances surrounding them. The review was commissioned by the then Acting Secretary of the Department, Mark Cormack, in October 2014.
A full version of the report, with limited redactions to protect the privacy of individuals who spoke to Mr Moss or who were the subject of allegations, has been published on the Department's website: www.immi.gov.au
Media enquiries: 02 6264 2244
Recommendations and statement of actions
This statement outlines the actions the Department is taking to address the Review's recommendations.
Recommendation 1: The Department and the Nauruan Government take into account the personal safety and privacy of transferees when making decisions about facilities and infrastructure at the centre.
The Department is working with service providers to strengthen existing procedures for the personal safety and privacy of transferees. Training, screening and supervision of night staff and improvements to ventilation, screening and lighting are all to be implemented as a priority. The location and accommodation of transferees in the Regional Processing Centre will be reviewed to ensure these decisions consider the personal safety and privacy of transferees.
Recommendation 2: Contract service providers review their guidelines relating to sexual harassment and sexual relationships to ensure that staff members understand what behaviour is acceptable in the context of a centre with a diversity of cultures.
The existing guidelines that govern acceptable behaviour in relation to sexual harassment and relationships are being revised by the service provider before being reviewed by the Department. The service provider will be required to ensure all staff have been provided with the revised guidelines and have it included in all induction and refresher training for staff, with documented evidence that this has been done. The service provider is required to ensure that all staff working at the Regional Processing Centre are aware of the cultural sensitivities arising from the diversity of cultures. The service provider is developing awareness training to be delivered as a part of induction and refresher training for all staff.
Recommendation 3: The Department give consideration to how it could support the Government of Nauru to enhance forensic services to investigate, record and prosecute incidents of sexual and other physical assault in the centre.
The Department is facilitating talks with representatives from the Government of Nauru, the Australian Federal Police (AFP), Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade and the Australian Attorney General's Department to discuss how to enhance capacity to handle sexual and physical assault at the Regional Processing Centre.
Recommendation 4: Nauruan Government officials and the Department review and enhance the existing policy framework for identifying, reporting, responding to, mitigating and preventing incidents of sexual and other physical assault at the Centre. All staff members working at the centre (Nauruan, Departmental and contract service provider) must understand the framework and their responsibilities under it.
The Department will facilitate and participate in a workshop with the Nauruan operational managers, service delivery staff and the Nauru Police Force to agree on a framework of responsibilities for incidents of sexual and physical assault. The framework, policies and procedures will be incorporated into the existing guidelines and become a part of the regular refresher staff training.
Recommendation 5: The Department liaise with the Government of Nauru to ensure that child protection issues are reflected in the work currently being done on the Nauruan criminal code.
The Department is working closely with the Government of Nauru to progress inclusion of child protection elements in the Nauruan criminal code and relevant legislation.
Recommendation 6: The Department and the contracted service providers continue to work with the Nauruan Government to ensure that a robust child protection framework is developed.
An audit of credentials for all staff working with children in Nauru will be undertaken. The Department will facilitate and participate in a workshop with Nauruan operational managers, service delivery staff, the Nauru Police Force and child protection experts to review and agree on a child protection framework to accompany operational policies, procedures and the existing child safeguarding protocols. Specialised child protection training will be provided to all staff and service providers who interact with children.
Recommendation 7: All contracted service providers review their existing policies in relation to social media to ensure that their staff members have a clear understanding of their obligations concerning its use.
The service providers will review and amend corporate electronic communications policy including social media to ensure consistency with the Department's principles, with the consequences for breaches of the policy clear to staff. The Department will review and approve the policy and require evidence that it has been communicated to all staff.
Recommendation 8: The Department review contract provisions and other guidelines to ensure that the obligation on contracted service providers to report any data loss is explicit.
The Department's existing contractual provisions and guidelines are being reviewed and updated to strengthen existing contractual requirements relating to reporting data loss. This will be reflected in new arrangements with updates to existing arrangements where required.
Recommendation 9: Noting the current AFP investigation, the Department review its decision which required Save the Children to remove ten of its staff members from providing services in Nauru and in so doing consider the staff members individually. The review would include providing:
- Save the Children with the information the Department relied on and
- the opportunity for Save the Children to address the allegations concerning its staff members.
In the event that the decision in relation to any of the ten Save the Children staff members is reversed, the Department make representations to the Government of Nauru about the Nauruan removal order and its consequences.
The Department will review the matter.
Recommendation 10: The Department ensure that Nauruan operation and management of the centre is enhanced through a more joined-up approach between the Nauruan operations managers and the contracted service providers.
The governance structures of the Regional Processing Centre provide for regular interactions between the Nauruan operations managers and service providers. The Department is implementing more collaborative and regular communications including greater participation and involvement at regular meetings and improved governance for both parties in following up issues. The Department will also be providing greater transparency about the role of the service provider and work with the service provider to enhance training and development of Nauruan staff.
Recommendation 11: Greater cooperation between the contracted service providers be encouraged, including through the Department:
- ensuring that contracted service provider staff members have a clear understanding of each other's roles and responsibilities
- reviewing the range of meetings at the centre to ensure that information is shared effectively and
- taking a more proactive role to ensure that contracted service providers are working cooperatively together and are responsive to each other.
Service providers are required to work collaboratively as a part of their contract. The Department will facilitate regular information sessions for stakeholders to openly discuss their roles and responsibilities, review meetings currently held at the Regional Processing Centre and establish a joint service provider forum at a national level to encourage greater cooperation, collaboration and information sharing between service providers.
Recommendation 12: The Department ensure that the relationship between Transfield Services/Wilson Security and the Nauru Police Force becomes more structured and is based on cooperative and consistent interaction.
The Department will work in collaboration with the Nauruan operations managers, Nauru Police Force, Transfield and Wilson Security to review the effectiveness of existing forums and practices. The Department will also work with the Nauru Police Force and the Australian Federal Police to address the issue of underreporting.
Recommendation 13: The Department consider the feasibility of assisting the Nauru Police Force to increase its effectiveness through the appointment, on a limited term basis, of an AFP officer with executive authority.
The Department will consult The Australian Federal Police and the Nauru Police Force to further explore the feasibility of this recommendation.
Recommendation 14: The Nauru Police Force have greater visibility in the centre based on community policing and explore ways to include transferees and refugee settlers in community policing and law enforcement roles.
A Government of Nauru-led Community Liaison Officer network is currently being established to provide further support for transferees. The Department will work in consultation with the Nauru Police Force and the Australian Federal Police to develop a proposal seeking agreement for an ongoing community policing presence within the Regional Processing Centre and refugee settlers being included in community policing and law enforcement roles.
Recommendation 15: The Department ensure that there is a more joined-up approach between the Wilson Security intelligence unit and the Nauru Police Force.
Consistent with Recommendation 12, the Department will work in collaboration to review existing arrangements to develop strategies that will enhance higher levels of participation and effective engagement, including regular liaison visits while also reviewing the protocols for handling intelligence information.
Recommendation 16: The Department work with the Nauru Government to extend the Nauru Police Force Community Liaison Officers Program to the centre.
The Department continues to support the Community Liaison Officer programme and will work with the Australian Federal Police and engage with the Government of Nauru to consider the Regional Processing Centre as a part of the programme.
Recommendation 17: The Department and contracted service providers review and enhance existing efforts to ensure that Nauruan staff members are treated with respect and that there is courteous regard shown for the Republic of Nauru. This requirement could be enhanced through:
- the induction programmes for all non-Nauruan contract service provider staff members about Nauruan culture and Nauruan society be delivered by Nauruans
- establishment of a framework to deliver positive messaging about Nauru
- the Department taking the lead with its contracted service providers to assist Nauruan authorities to continue to find ways to introduce transferees and Nauruans to each other's cultures and traditions.
The Department will facilitate an expansion of current arrangements, such as excursions and programmes, through open centre arrangements and training. Training will be enhanced by providing assistance to the Nauruan Government to develop training modules on the Nauruan culture for all staff as a part of induction and refresher training, to be delivered by Nauruans. This is in addition to the cultural diversity training for staff and cultural orientation awareness and training.
Recommendation 18: The Department work with Nauruan authorities and contracted service providers to develop new strategies and training programmes to build the capacity of the contracted service providers' Nauruan workforces.
The Department will work with service providers to develop strategies for building the capacity of Nauruan staff members, including expanding the formal training opportunities already offered by Transfield Services as a Registered Training Organisation.
Recommendation 19: The Department consider the draft protocol suggested by the AFP for protest and incident management to assess whether it adds value to existing emergency management plans.
The existing emergency management procedures and protocols will be reviewed in consultation with the Government of Nauru, to incorporate the Australian Federal Police protest and incident management protocols, where appropriate.
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