14 Jan 2014

Australian detention centres to close

9:18 pm on 14 January 2014

Australian Immigration Minister Scott Morrison has announced the closure of four asylum seeker detention centres, which he says will save $A88.8 million a year.

The decision comes as the Australian government moves to divert all asylum seekers offshore, with more than 2000 currently held on Christmas Island and new arrivals being sent to centres on Nauru and Manus Island, the ABC reports.

Mr Morrison says the centres are no longer needed because the number of boat arrivals has slowed.

"That's the first downpayment on the dividend of stronger border protection," he said on Tuesday.

The Scherger detention centre in far-north Queensland, the Port Augusta residential housing in South Australia and Leonora alternative place of detention are all set to close by the end of February.

The empty Pontville facility in Tasmania will be handed back to the Department of Defence at an unspecified date.

The government has been reviewing the future of Australia's various detention centres as it aims to divert all new boat arrivals offshore.