Residents of Woodside in South Australia are demanding extra resources for their community, as plans to open an immigration detention centre progress, SBS’s Karen Ashford reports.
Opponents of the soon-to-be opened facility say that it will be a strain on local resources, and a blight on their community’s image.
The detention centre will house up to 400 asylum-seeker families in a dissused defence housing facility in Inverbrackie army base.
At a public meeting in the Adelaide Hills district, locals accused Labor of putting asylum seekers’ needs of the electorate’s.
“All of a sudden the government can find all this money to put into a detention centre and to put into health care for them, when we have been screaming for years in the Hills to have a 24-hour medical centre at Mount Barker, or more local doctors for our people here,” one woman said, addressing the meeting.
Another woman agreed: “I don’t want my children to see, in my opinion, the outsiders coming in and getting a free ride and getting favouritism over us who pay taxes”.
Other opponents of the detention cenre were worried for their safety.
“Why are you accepting people who have fought a democratic government and perfect suicide bombing by young girls as young as 16,” one man asked of Immigration Minister Chris Bowen, who fronted the meeting.
However, some opponents of the facility says its opening may provide the community with leverage to demand resources from the government.
“I feel that this detention centre, although it’s a negative move as far as us a community is concerned, I wish to make the most of it so that everybody is a winner,” Chairman of the Woodside Commerce Association, Doug Mansell, told SBS.