13 Sep 2010

Australia seeking more beds for aslyum-seekers

4:23 pm on 13 September 2010

Australia's new immigration minister is considering how to expand the capacity of detention centres for asylum-seekers by up to 2000 beds.

Detention centres on the mainland are full and officials are reviewing the options.

The Australian territory of Christmas Island is also nearly 1000 people over capacity, with 56 more just arrived, the ABC reports.

Chris Bowen will be sworn in on Tuesday and his first task is to deal with the news that the detention centres are full.

There are more than 4,900 people in detention centres throughout Australia - nearly 1500 above their official capacity.

The ABC understands Mr Bowen's options include expanding the Curtin Detention Centre in Western Australia or building a new centre east of Perth at Northam.

Opposition spokesperson Scott Morrison says the Coalition would use the island of Nauru.

Prime Minister Julia Gillard has said that new foreign minister Kevin Rudd will keep negotiating with East Timor on a regional processing centre.