Concern over asylum seekers’ mental health

Health Minister Nicola Roxon has denied a return to offshore processing would lead to poorer mental health outcomes for asylum seekers.

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When Labor was elected it reassessed the support needed for those potential refugees who might be detained, she told ABC Television.

“We’ve put in place … good, strong mental health protections.

“(And) we would have to make sure, if we’re contracting with another country, that health needs generally, let alone mental health needs, are properly taken care of and that’s something that as a government I’m sure we would do.”

Ms Roxon insisted Labor’s plan was not a return to the previous coalition government’s so-called Pacific Solution.

Last week, Ms Gillard announced the government would reintroduce offshore processing of asylum claims.

The government is in negotiations with East Timor regarding the possibility of building a regional refugee processing centre on the island state.

MP backs PM’s action

Prime Minister Julia Gillard’s stance on border protection has eased community tension on the issue, a federal Labor MP from western Sydney says.

Border security is one of the hottest issues with voters in David Bradbury’s seat of Lindsay, which the coalition hopes to win back at the next election.

Mr Bradbury says there has been widespread concern about the number of asylum seekers travelling to Australia by boat.

“People have been raising concerns about … securing our borders,” he told ABC Radio on Monday, adding that a “fairer and more orderly” migration system was crucial.

Voters wanted real action on asylum seekers, he said, noting that Labor’s plans to create a regional processing hub was just that.

“Everything that people have seen over the last week demonstrates (the) prime minister is going to take strong and

effective action.”

Mr Bradbury accompanied Ms Gillard on an inspection of border security operations in northern Australia last week.