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Manus Island security contractor receives an extra $109 million

Manus Island security contractor receives an extra $109 million

By Alexi Barnstone

The Australian Financial review has just released information about an extra $109 million dollar payout to Paladin, a security company that has been tasked with monitoring Manus Island.

The extra money makes Paladin one of the largest government contractors in Australia, bringing in around 423 million dollars in contracts.

Running costs for the security on the island are estimated to be roughly 3 million dollars a month, far off the 20 million dollars a month that Paladin has been contracted in to receive. The employees that provide security tend to be Papua New Guinea locals, whom receive pay of around $2 an hour.

Paladin will not provide food or medical aid with this funding.

This near half a billion dollars has been and is being allocated for the security of roughly 422 refugees housed in three camps, numbers reported by a home affairs spokesperson. The money equates to an increase in budget of around 48% from last year, despite the number of refugees detained on the island has dropped from a reported 870 refugees a few years back.

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 The Australian government will now be paying $1,600 per refugee per day. This marks a massive expenditure by the Australian government, and yet the island conditions were described as “tantamount to torture” by Amnesty International.

Transfield, now known as the multinational Broadspectrum after a rebrand, used to hold the contracts for security on the island. However the company opted out of pursuing this responsibility due to the risks that the job had on the company’s reputation.

Paladin, as a largely unknown company founded by a 38 year old Austrian and ex military man, is said to have won the contracts because all of the larger security services did not want to touch the job. Paladin received the contract despite the fact that its director was not even allowed into Papua New Guinea due to 106 charges of fraud and one account of money laundering. 

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When the Financial review confronted Peter Dutton about the scenario, he refused to provide any details on the contracts saying that it would “cause damage to Australia’s relations with Papua New Guinea.

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