TWO fences, one electrified and one made from anti-climb steel mesh, border the Yongah Hill Detention Centre, near Northam, at a minimum height of three metres.
Inside, 440 closed-circuit television cameras and Serco security staff will monitor up to 600 asylum seekers soon to be transferred to the facility from other camps across Australia.
It is not a prison but it's not a holiday camp, either. So says the Federal Department of Immigration and Citizenship.
Media representatives were taken on a tour of the centre yesterday
Originally, Yongah Hill Detention Centre was to house 1500 detainees, but in May 2010 the Government scaled the capacity down.
There is a “surge capacity” if need be.
Department of Immigration and Citizenship spokesman Sandi Logan said all measures were in place to ensure both the safety of the community and the mental well-being of detainees.
“Part of our job is to keep the detainees as busy and productive as possible, to bring them into a normal routine so that if and when they are granted a visa, they are in a better place to integrate into society,” he said.
“It is about enforcing the administrative law, it is not about punishment.”
Many of the camp's 142 demountable buildings came from a Ravensthorpe mine construction camp and reflect a basic standard of accommodation.
There are four separate compounds - Hawk, Eagle, Falcon and Swan. There are 18 accommodation blocks consisting of four rooms in each compound.
Most rooms have bunks for two men, a toilet, shower, small desk, chair, television and bar fridge.
Each of the compounds has its own laundry, phone booth, recreation room, refreshment area and volleyball courts.
Detainees have access to English classrooms, kitchen workshops, prayer rooms, gardens, a library and gym and recreation facilities.
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