Australia asylum seeker detention centres nearing capacity

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A new asylum seeker detention facility in Western Australia is nearing capacity after only six weeks of being open.

The new $125 million Yongah Hill Immigration Detention Centre, located about 90km northeast of Perth, was made to house about 600 single adult males. As of last week, the facility already houses 536 detainees.

The first asylum seekers began arriving at the facility in late June. A federal spokeswoman said the facility was designed to be flexible in terms of overflow capacity, and also said that there are other detention options around Australia, including the option of moving asylum seekers into the community.

"DIAC advised that there was potentially another 20 that could possibly be accommodated so that makes it 620 as an overflow capacity, but, certainly not anything more major than that. The numbers that are here are basically giving some excess capacity, or relieving some capacity in other centres," Northam Shire President Steve Pollard said.

There are currently an estimated 5,700 people in Australia's detention centres; many are approaching or at capacity. For instance, the Sherger Detention Centre in Queensland has a maximum capacity of 1,000 people; however, there are currently 1,359 asylum seekers detained at the centre.

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