Sunday, 5 April 2015

Abbott Government advertising for new contractors at Nauru & Manus detention centres

In early 2014 the Abbott Government extended the Transfield Services* contract to cover both Nauru and Manus Island centres and this contract was reportedly worth $1.2 billion.

In February 2014 an asylum seeker was murdered in the Manus detention centre.

In May 2014 the Cornall report into the incident leading to his death and serious injury to other asylum seekers was handed to the government.

By November 2014 the Abbott Government was in possession of the Australian Human Rights Commission report on the treatment of children in these centres.

In September 2014 it was reported that inadequate medical attention on Manus Island resulted in the eventual brain death of an asylum seeker in a Brisbane hospital.

In December 2014 it was announced that International Health and Medical Services (IHMS) had received a contract renewal, to provide medical services on Nauru and Manus Island worth around $900 million over five years.

By January 2015 the Australian Department of Immigration and Border Protection had begun advertising these contracts on AusTender:

The Department of Immigration and Border Protection invites interested parties to submit Tenders in accordance with this Request for Tender for the provision of services in Regional Processing Countries. 

Services will be required to be delivered within the Regional Processing Centres on Nauru and Manus, Papua New Guinea, as well as limited services within the local communities of Nauru and Manus to support settlement activities for Refugees.  Potential suppliers will be able to bid for one or both service categories listed below.
The Request for Tender seeks responses in relation to two service categories. 
Service Category 1. Health Services, which includes:
(a) Health screening and assessment processes;
(b) Health promotion and education programmes;
(c) Management of mental health and public health risks;
(d) Medical escort services;
(e) Supply and management of medical equipment and pharmaceuticals;
(f) Environmental health services;
(g) Health advice services;
(h) Outreach health services; and
(i) Telehealth.

Service Category 2. Garrison and Welfare Services, which include:
(a) Programmes and Activities;
(b) Management of property of Transferees;
(c) Communication management;
(d) Management and maintenance of assets;
(e) Cleaning;
(f) Security and Incident Management;
(g) Catering;
(h) Environmental management;
(i) Logistics;
(j) Personnel accommodation;
(k) Transport and Escort;
(l) Complaints Management;
(m) Individual management of Transferees;
(n) Complaints and request management;
(o) Specialist care for vulnerable cohorts (infants, families with children, minors);
(p) Independent observer services; 
(q) Communication Management; and
(r) Business Services.

Further details of the Services are set out in the RFT documentation.
The current contracts for garrison, welfare and health services on Nauru and Manus expire on 31 October 2015.  New arrangements must be in place and fully transitioned by this date.

The euphemistically named regional processing centres are requiring new contractors it seems.
In March 2015 the Report of the Special Rapporteur on torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment was released and quickly followed by the Moss report on sexual abuse and sexual assault allegations at the Nauru detention centre.

So which company or companies are walking away from any further engagement in the Abbott Government's overseas detention centres?
Is it IHMS (or possibly a subcontractor) and Transfield's subcontractor Wilson Security? 

Has corporate greed finally been overridden by a need to protect their brands?

Or are the aforementioned contract details merely being advertised due to competitive tender requirements and the usual suspects will still be in place after October this year. 

* Transfield Services is in the process of rebranding the company as Transfield Holdings has served notice on the company to cease using the trademarked Transfield name and logo.
Industry super fund HESTA appears to be in the process of divesting itself of shares in Transfield Services in response to pressure from a section of its membership.


xborder said...

Thank you for an interesting post.

It is however in some respects remarkable and somewhat misleading.

1. The advertising of contracts is a routine part of the tendering process and timelines. Much as we would like to do so, nothing meaningful can be inferred from this, least of all speculation as to which or whether companies are "walking away" from the detention industry.

Therefore, the question you pose -- "So which company or companies are walking away from any further engagement in the Abbott Government's overseas detention centres?" -- is misleading. It is however correct to say that "the contract details [are] merely being readvertised due to competitive tender requirements." It is however doubtful that makes any difference if it is the "usual suspects" or there are new entrants into the industry.

2. What is however remarkable about much of this post is that it repeats most of the information offered on two websites -- including & -- and, without linking to either, gets some pertinent details wrong.

There is no evidence that the "Industry super fund HESTA appears to be in the process of divesting itself of shares in Transfield Services in response to pressure from a section of its membership."

The tendency toward circulating misleading or false information about the divestment campaign has it seems been actively encouraged, but not by those who have worked on the divestment campaign for more than a year.

In the case of HESTA, as the article below makes clear, they have dropped a little below the threshold of disclosure, but it is false to suggest that they are "in the process of divesting." The volatility of shareholdings should not be read as divestment unless HESTA announce they are in the process of divestment.

HESTA remain significant institutional shareholders of Transfield, but we are well aware that they are keen to manage members' perceptions of those investments, not least through the circulation of the kinds of misleading information contained in the above blog post. See Addendum here:

3. It is false that whatever movements there are in HESTA's shareholdings are a consequence of pressure from the ASU. HESTA bought signficant tranches of Transfield shares *after* the ASU passed a motion for divestment. There has been nothing from the ASU since that motion on the matter. Ourselves and others have however been raising the pressure on HESTA since we found out they had become substantial shareholders.

Finally, it is perhaps unsurprising that the above article does not link to any of the material from those who have been actively involved in the divestment campaign. That in itself indicates an eagerness to lead people away from independent, credible information from the divestment campaign.

We are not interested in managing the risk of the divestment campaign for companies involved in the detention industry. We are campaigning for complete and verifiable divestment, and do not represent the interests of companies in the detention industry over those who are detained.

clarencegirl said...


Your quote: "Finally, it is perhaps unsurprising that the above article does not link to any of the material from those who have been actively involved in the divestment campaign. That in itself indicates an eagerness to lead people away from independent, credible information from the divestment campaign."

You couldn't be more wrong. Neither of the two blog sites you mentioned are known to me.

All information re HESTA came from its website, the fund's ASX notices and mainstream media reports.

NCV is an independent blog with no political, business or community organization affiliations.

xborder said...

We are *not* incorrect in saying that the above article does not link to *any* of the material from the divestment campaign.

Since we're not mindreaders, we cannot know whether you are aware of either of the two sites mentioned: or xborderoperationalmatters.

What we do know is that a web-search of HESTA, divest and/or Transfield brings up xborderoperationalmatters, and that this links to The same is true of any search across social media platforms such as twitter or facebook.

So the question arises as to why such easily-accessible, and publicly-available material was not linked to in an article purporting to discuss investments in Transfield and by HESTA.

It is unclear why you would only convey information from HESTA and ASX document, both of which you have misunderstood and offered here as meaning something they do not. HESTA are keen to evade further scrutiny - please do not help them in this.

We're happy to know that NCV is unaffiliated, but that still does not explain why you you haven't done due diligence on the information provided here regarding divestment.

Please correct the incorrect and misleading points in the article.

clarencegirl said...

Good Heavens xborder,

You either have an inflated sense of your own importance or an advanced case of conspiracy theory.

Mention of HESTA was merely a footnote to a post which was not about investment in Transfield or the share divestment issue.

HESTA & ASX were used to verify MSM reports used as basis for footnote because these websites are primary sources.

As I did not see or use 'your' site when preparing my post I did not and will not be linking to it.

NCV readers are quite capable of using the links you have supplied to access any information they contains.