The government has quietly put the management of onshore immigration detention centres out to tender, raising the possibility that Serco will lose the job -- or that centres will be shut as part of an overhaul of asylum seeker policy.
All Australia's immigration detention centres, onshore and offshore, are privatised, and there's billions at stake for the multinational giants
that bid. British services behemoth Serco runs all eight onshore centres (including Christmas Island, Villawood and Curtin). Serco started that contract back in 2009
, and it's worth an eye-watering $3 billion.
The contract expires in December this year, and the Immigration Department has just issued a "request for tender
", inviting bidders to flag their interest.
It's not been revealed how long the contract will go for or what it might be worth (immigration insiders told Crikey
it would be hundreds of millions). A contract is due to be signed in September; there's no reason Serco can't bid again.