Former DFAT boss to investigate Home Affairs regional processing contracts

Former ASIO director general and DFAT secretary Dennis Richardson will review the management of regional asylum seeking processing contracts by the Department of Home affairs.

Dennis Richardson

The review will consider integrity and governance in the management of the contracts following the airing of  a number of “serious issues” that merited detailed and thorough examination, home affairs minister Clare O’Neil said.

“The review will consider governance practices and these allegations in the wider context of serious issues that have emerged over many years,” she said.

It will not canvass the policy of regional processing itself, the minister added.

The announcement of the review follows allegations raised in media reports of maladministration or corruption in Australia’s offshore processing regime.

The AgeThe Sydney Morning Herald and 60 Minutes last week reported that department of Home Affairs Department oversaw the payment of millions of dollars to Pacific Island politicians via a chain of suspect contracts relating to offshore asylum seeker processing centres.

Mr Richardson will also look at the engagement of sub-contractors by head contractors and refer matters to “appropriate authorities for further investigation where necessary”, Ms O’Neil said.

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