The current outsourcing model used by the Department of Immigration and Border Protection to deliver offshore detention services in Nauru and Manus Island is risky and inefficient, argues Melbourne School of Government public management expert Professor Janine O’Flynn.

Her comments follow an extraordinary report issued by the national auditor on Monday criticising the handling of welfare and garrison services for the refugee detention centres, which suggests DIBP spent $2.2 billion without proper authorisation, lacked effective contract and risk management mechanisms, had poor record keeping processes, and even failed to insure a $75 million facility in Nauru that ultimately burned down in a riot.

The department, while accepting the Australian National Audit Office’s (ANAO) recommendations for improving its management of the offshore detention regime, has blamed “immense” political pressure “to simultaneously manage thousands of asylum seekers, negotiate with host governments, engage the service providers and operationalise all the logistics for the regional processing centres, whilst continuing to manage the immigration detention network in Australia”.