Saturday, April 12, 2014

Australia has the highest proportion of prisoners in private corporate run prisons in the world

A Report by the Sentencing Project titled International Growth Trends in Prison Privatization shows that Australia has the highest proportion of prisoners in private (corporate) run prisons in the world. 

The Table shows that the percentage of prisoners held in private prisons in Australia is 19%, compared to 17% in Scotland, 14% in England and Wales and 115 in New Zealand.

Some Australian states, like Victoria, have a higher proportion of prisoners in private prisons. In Victoria nearly one third of prisoners are held in private prisons, giving it the highest level of prison privatization of any jurisdiction in the world.

The US has the highest number of prisoners held in private/corporate run prisons, but the percentage of prisoners in private prisons is 8%.

The population of people held in private prisons in Australia has increased 95% in the past 15 years. In that same period, the number of prisoners in state-run jails grew by 50 per cent and the total prison population increased by 57 per cent. The rapid and consistent increase in the number of prisoners over the last two decades, coupled with a 106% prison occupancy rate, creates an opportunity for private prison corporations to thrive.

Another reason for the growth in the numbers of detainees in corporate run prisons in Australia has been the enormous growth in the number of asylum seekers detained in immigration detention prisons run by Serco (on shore and Christmas Island) and Transfield (Naura and Manus Island).

Private run prisons are seriously profitable, with the corporations involved in running private prisons making increased profits across all jurisdictions in which they operate. 
In Australia three private corporations- Serco, G4S and Geo Group- run private prisons in New South Wales, Queensland, Victoria, Western Australia and South Australia. These three corporations are global giants, in what is a powerful billion dollar industry, and also run prisons in the US, UK, Europe, Israel and South Africa.

Corporate run prisons in Australia are:

  • Immigration Detention Centres, onshore and offshore (Serco and Transfield)
  • Acacia Prison Western Australia (Serco)
  • Wandoo Young Adult Facility, Western Australia (Serco)
  • Junee Correctional Centre, NSW (Geo Group)
  • Parklea Correctional Centre, NSW (Geo Group)
  • Arthur Gorrie Correctional Centre, Queensland (Geo Group)
  • Borallan Correctional Centre, Queensland (Serco)
  • Southern Queensland Correctional Centre (Serco)
  • Mt Gambier Prison, South Australia (G4S)
  • Fulham Correctional Centre, Victoria (Geo Group)
  • Port Phillip Prison, Victoria (G4S)

G4S and Serco also run prisoner transport services, including prisoner transport services in Victoria (G4S) and Western Australian prisoner transport and court security services in WA (Serco).

Even though Australia has the highest proportion of prisoners in private (corporate) run prisons in the world, State Governments have plans to radically expand the number of private prisons. In Queensland the Newman Government has established a secret Task Force to develop an plan to hand over all Queensland's prisons to the corporate sector.

In Western Australia, the Barnett Government and the Minister responsible for Prisons have made it clear that more private corporate run prisons are central to their reform agenda. 

Saturday, October 12, 2013

Swiss set their sights on excessive corporate pay

The Swiss people are showing that citizens can organize and take action to address growing income inequality by placing restrictions and caps on executive salaries. 

Since the 2008 global financial crises Swiss citizens have set their sights on excessive corporate pay and rising income inequality.

Already public activism by the Swiss people on executive pay has forced two referendums and efforts are underway to force a third referendum. Under Swiss law citizens are able to organize popular initiatives whereby the Swiss Parliament must hold a referendum on any initiative that has gathered more than 100,000 signatures. 

In March 2013 the Swiss voted overwhelmingly to pass some of the strictest controls on executive pay, requiring that public company shareholders vote on compensation for executives.

In November 2013 the Swiss people will get a vote on another proposal to to cap and limit executive pay. The 1:12 initiative will limit executive pay to no more than 12 times the salary of the lowest paid worker. Compare that to the USA which has among the highest levels of income inequality in the world with a CEO to worker pay ratio of 185:1 and here in Australia where the CEO to worker pay ratio is 100:1

Unsurprisingly, corporations and business groups oppose the Swiss  1: 12 initiative claiming that it will abolish prosperity  and is an attack on freedom. Global multinational corporations like GlencoreXstrata  threaten to move their headquarters out of Switzerland if the proposal is passed.

Now Swiss citizens are trying to establish a guaranteed basic income for all citizens. 

On Friday Swiss citizen activists submitted over 130,000 signatures to the Swiss Parliament- enough to call a vote over whether or not to approve the proposal-  to create a law guaranteeing all Swiss nationals a guaranteed basic income of around $2800 per month.  In a public display of support, advocates of the measure tipped over a truck full of 8 million 5-cent coins (one for each citizen of the country.)

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Corporate 'sin-washing' and the London Olympics

Dave Zirin's article on corporate 'sin washing' at the London Olympics exposes the corporate criminality of the major corporate sponsors of the Olympics including Dow Chemicals, BP, McDonald's,  and Coca Cola.
Global corporations like Dow Chemical, Adidas, and McDonald's are paying upwards of $100 million USD to sponsor the 2012 London games and associate themselves with the Olympic brand -- but with their brands already well-established, what do corporations get in exchange for these expensive sponsorship deals?

According to Dave Zirin, sportswriter and columnist for The Nation, the payoff comes through "corporate sin-washing."

"More than any other enterprise, if a company associates themselves with an Olympics, it really creates a positive feeling in the mind of the consumer," he says.

But, "if you look at the main sponsors that the International Olympic Committee has brought on board, you see companies like Dow Chemicals, British Petroleum, McDonald's, Adidas." 

These companies, Zirin tells the Center for Media and Democracy, are some of "the worst corporate criminals" most in the need of an Olympic absolution.
Zirin uses the example of Australian Aboriginal boxer Daniel Hooper to highlight the hypocrisy of the London organizers stance on corporate sponsorship
Zirin's favorite example of odd, corporate-friendly Olympic rules involves Australian boxer Daniel Hooper, who wore a T-shirt with an Australian Aboriginal flag in a recent boxing match to showcase his Aboriginal roots. Hooper could face disciplinary action for making a "political statement" by wearing the shirt, which contains a flag not recognized by the International Olympic Committee (IOC). The flag is, however, recognized by the Australian government as an official flag of Australia.

"What's particularly perverse about this is that if Damien Hooper had chosen a shirt that said 'I love British Petroleum' or 'Dow Chemicals is A-OK with me', he would have been allowed to compete." Zirin observes "it's amazing to me that wearing a shirt that says 'Dow Chemicals' is not seen as a political statement, while wearing a recognized flag of your own country is a political statement, because the IOC chooses not to recognize that flag."
 Phil England makes similar points in this piece in Ceasfire where he highlights that the Olympics organisers breached their own guidelines on ethical contracting and ignored concerns and complaints from civil society groups about the corporate sponsors.
The apparent unwillingness to apply any of the Olympics’ supposed ethical principles to the selection of corporate sponsors, brushing aside numerous civil society complaints and campaigns, is certainly one thing that the games can claim to be consistent about.

Why is the London Olympic organising committee (LOCOG) breaching its own Sustainable Sourcing Code? and the International Olympic Committee (IOC) breaching its own Code of Ethics? The former promises to “place a high priority on environmental, social and ethical issues when procuring products and services for the games”, while the latter states that the support of sponsors “must be in a form consistent with the rules of sport and the principles defined in the Olympic Charter” which defines Olympism as “seeking to create a way of life based on the joy of effort, the educational value of good example, social responsibility and respect for universal fundamental ethical principles”.

These are serious questions for the respective committees as well as for the Commission for a Sustainable London 2012 (CSL) and its standards and ethics expert David Jackman. Because, as with other forms of cultural sponsorship, these company donations aren’t magnanimous acts of philanthropy, but calculated acts of public relations. At their recent AGM, the BP board outlined how they had made a business case internally for their sponsorship of the Olympics, the costed returns for which included building and protecting their brand. Inside the industry this is understood as maintaining the “social license to operate”.

In a very real sense then, the Olympics are colluding in the public relations campaigns of corporations who are engaged in large-scale environmental and human rights abuses, many of which are the subject of legal actions. The IOC and LOCOG are therefore complicit in normalising and cleansing the image of some of our most heinous corporate criminals and CSL is failing to properly address this.

The danger of corporatised health care

More evidence in this Guardian piece of the dangers of allowing corporations and private business to run health services that should be provided by the public sector.
Six people are feared to have suffered irreversible sight loss because of the failings of a privately run clinic at an NHS hospital, raising fresh fears about the government's plans to open up the health service to the commercial sector.
In an unprecedented move, GPs have been advised to consider alternative clinics for their patients because of "worrying concerns" about the services offered at a hospital in Hertfordshire. The surgical clinic, owned by Carillion, a construction firm which was formerly part of Tarmac, has only carried out NHS services at Lister hospital since October but it has already been the subject of criticism from the Care Quality Commission regarding waiting times for a range of services.

The government's drive towards NHS privatisation is leaving patients vulnerable to poor care and support at surgery centres like the one at the Lister hospital. It is potentially the tip of the iceberg in terms of the clinical risk of fragmented health services.

"The Conservatives talk about patient choice, but many patients would have been unaware of the difficulties that they would face by choosing the privately run Surgicentre. These companies see the Health and Social Care Act as a big opportunity to increase their business, but safeguarding patients has to be the number one priority

Saturday, July 28, 2012

Another multinational corporation profits from Australia's abuse of children and young people

The corporate takeover of Australia's human and community services continues.

Another multinational corporation is set to profit from Australia's immigration detention system and its abuse of children and young people.

The Gillard Government has signed a new contract worth $29 million with the US based Maximus Solutions to care for  unaccompanied minors held in Australia's immigration detention gulags. The contract was previously held by Life Without Barriers, an Australian not- for- profit organization.

The figure is the nominal amount of a new contract between the Department of Immigration and Citizenship and the US based Maximus Solutions to provide ``care and support'' to teenage asylum-seekers who arrive by boat without a parent or a guardian. 

The extract below is from Paige Taylor's report in the Australian (July 12 2012)
There are currently 168 such teens, mostly boys, living under guard in ``alternative places of detention'' at Darwin airport, on Christmas Island and at a camp in the West Australian northern goldfields town of Leonora.

In the costly context of Australia's immigration detention network, the department finds the $29m contract represents good value.
It is a tiny sliver of the size of the five-year contract between the Immigration Department and Serco for the management of Australia's immigration detention centres on Christmas Island and the mainland; in July last year, that agreement, due to expire in 2014, was valued at $1,032,827,276.
The contract is one of the measures the federal government has in place to meet its obligations towards unaccompanied minors.
``As a signatory to the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, the Australian government takes its obligations towards unaccompanied minors very seriously,'' the Immigration Department states on its website.
Immigration Minister Chris Bowen is the legal guardian of all unaccompanied minors seeking asylum in Australia; as of last Friday, there were a total of 310 -- almost half, 142, had been placed in community housing under the care of the Red Cross while the rest were still in detention. ``The contract is for care and support services to unaccompanied minors in the detention network,'' a spokesman for the department said yesterday.
``It is also for `independent observer' services on Christmas Island and in mainland Australia.''

Maximus Solutions is a subsidiary of the US based Maximus Inc.

Maximus Inc is a US based multinational corporation that works in the health and human services industries in US, Canada, UK and Australia. It wins Government contracts to provide services previously delivered by Governments or not-for-profit organizations. With a motto Helping Government serve the People Maximus employs 8800 people worldwide.

Maximus is embroiled in controversy wherever it goes. Maximus settled with the US Government over corporate fraud allegations after it (the Government) bought a lawsuit against Maximus for falsifying $30.5 million of Medicare claims.  The Department of Justice statement on the settlement is here.

Maximus was also found to have doubled billed for services in New Jersey.

Maximus makes heavy use of lobbyists and payments to politicians and political parties. Maximus was reputed to have won a $72 million contract after it donated funds to current Presidential candidate Matt Romney when he was Massachusetts Governor.

In the UK Maximus and other other corporate providers have massively increased sanctions imposed on  welfare recipients have developed grassroots campaigns targeting a range of corporations, including Maximus, accusing them of profiteering and exploitation of people on welfare.

Here in Australia journalist Elisabeth Wynhausen has investigated Max Employment's provision of employment support services on behalf of the Australia Government in 84 sites and 71 outreach locations.

Monday, June 11, 2012

Public space in private and corporate hands

This piece from the UK Guardian describes precisely what is happening here in WA.  
 No better example than the $400 m Waterfront redevelopment on Perth's foreshore which is handing over large swathes of prime public riverfront land to private and corporate owners.
What we are seeing is the privatization of public space, the corporate and private takeover of more and more public land and public space and the use of corporate design principles to transform public areas is all part of the corporate takeover of every aspect of our lives.
The Guardian piece continues:
 Over the past decade, large parts of Britain's cities have been redeveloped as privately-owned estates, extending corporate control over some of the country's busiest squares and thoroughfares.
These developments are no longer simply enclosed malls like Westfield in White City or business districts like Broadgate in the City of London – they are spaces open to the sky which appear to be entirely public to casual passers-by.
 It appears from the scale of the change that privatisation of space is now the standard price of redevelopment.
There are, of course, significant benefits to the redevelopments, though some worry that Britain's landscape is being slowly redefined by private ownership in two ways. 

As the Occupy protest highlighted, private owners can refuse right of entry to members of the public, closing off swaths of the city.

Critics also warn that these spaces are being designed on a corporate model which favours ornamental designs – and high levels of footfall for retailers – while community spirit and sustainability are far from a priority.

Saturday, December 3, 2011

When corporations run nursing homes the quality of care suffers

More evidence of the danger of allowing for- profit corporations to provide human and caring services to vulnerable people.

A major US study  to be published in the Journal Health Services Research has found that for-profit nursing homes deliver significantly lower quality of care than not-for- profit and government run nursing homes.

In the US the 10 largest for-profit corporate providers of hursing homes  operate about 2,000 nursing homes, controlling approximately 13 percent of the country’s nursing home beds.

The study found that the main reason that the quality of care is worse in corporate and for-profit run  nursing homes is that corporate and for- profit providers employ fewer staff  to keep costs down and profits up. In studying staffing and quality in the 10 largest corporate for profit providers of nursing homes the researchers found that the corporate providers  have a strategy of keeping labor costs low to increase profits, with the result that the quality of care suffers and there is a higher number of rated deficiencies.

The researchers found that low nurse staffing levels are the strongest predictor of poor nursing home quality.

The study found that between 2003 and 2008, both the percent of registered nurses and the numbers of all nursing staff were significantly less (30 percent) in the corporate for profit providers than the non-profit homes.  The lower staffing correlated with a considerably higher number of rated deficiencies - the private chains having 36 percent more deficiencies, and 41 percent more serious deficiencies than the non-profits.  Deficiencies include failure to prevent pressure sores, resident weight loss, falls, infections, resident mistreatment, poor sanitary conditions, and other problems that could seriously harm residents.

What is also troubling is that the study found that the quality of care worsened in nursing homes taken over by private equity companies. Nursing homes had more deficiencies after being acquired by a private equity company.This is directly relevant to Australia where private equity companies are increasingly involved in aged care and nursing home provision. The study is the first to make the connection between worse care following acquisition by private equity companies.
"In recent decades, nursing home chains have undergone a considerable expansion.A number of chains were publicly-traded companies until the early 2000s, when five of the country’s largest chains went bankrupt. Following restructuring and ownership changes, as well as increases in Medicare payments, the largest chains became more financially stable. More recently, some of the largest publicly held chains were purchased by private equity investment firms, which invest funds received from investors, with whom they share profits and losses. 

The researchers compared staffing levels and facility deficiencies at the for-profit chains to those at homes run by five other ownership groups to measure quality of care. The 10 largest chains were selected because they are influential in the nursing home industry and are the most successful in terms of growth and market share. 

The study found that for-profit homes strive to keep their costs down by reducing staffing, particularly RN staffing.

The 10 largest for-profit chains in 2008 were HCR Manor Care, Golden Living, Life Care Centers of America, Kindred Healthcare, Genesis HealthCare Corporation, Sun Health Care Group, Inc., SavaSeniorCare LLC, Extendicare Health Services, Inc., National Health Care Corporation, and Skilled HealthCare, LLC.

From 2003 to 2008, these chains had fewer nurse “staffing hours” than non-profit and government nursing homes when controlling for other factors. Together, these companies had the sickest residents, but their total nursing hours were 30 percent lower than non-profit and government nursing homes. Moreover, the top chains were well below the national average for RN and total nurse staffing, and below the minimum nurse staffing recommended by experts.

 The study also found that the four largest for-profit nursing home chains purchased by private equity companies between 2003 and 2008 had more deficiencies after being acquired. The study is the first to make the connection between worse care following acquisition by private equity companies.
There is now a growing body of evidence that demonstrates conclusively that for-profit corporate run nursing homes deliver lower quality care than not-for profit nursing homes.

A study in the British Medical Journal  compared quality-of-care measurements in 82 individual studies that collected data from 1965 to 2003 involving tens of thousands of nursing homes, mostly in the United States. It found that
The authors' meta-analysis, i.e. their integration and statistical analysis of the data from the multiple studies, shows that nonprofit facilities delivered higher quality care than for-profit facilities for two of the four most frequently reported quality measures: (1) more or higher quality staffing and (2) less prevalence of pressure ulcers, sometimes called bedsores.
The results also suggest better performance of nonprofit homes in two other quality measures: less frequent use of physical restraints and fewer noted deficiencies (quality violations) in governmental regulatory assessments.
"The reason patients' quality of care is inferior in for-profit nursing homes is that administrators must spend 10 percent to 15 percent of revenues satisfying shareholders and paying taxes..... For-profit providers cut corners to ensure shareholders achieve their expected return on investment."

Sunday, November 13, 2011

When the charitable sector takes money from the mining sector

Sometimes artists and charities who take money from mining companies in Western Australia give the game away.

This story Mining Company cash creates movie making boom  appeared on the ABC TV program Stateline WA on Friday November 4 and demonstrates that the primary reason for the "philanthropic" activity of the mining industry in WA is self interest.

The message is very clear- we will sponsor you but you must not speak certain truths about the industry. In other words the mining industry buys the silence and acquiesence of those it sponsors.

Listen to the journalists and artists in the ABC story who make it very clear that with the money comes conditions and the expectation is that you must show the mining industry in a favourable light.

Show the mining industry in a less than favourable light in their eyes or speak certain truths about the industry and you can say goodbye to the sponsorship.

One interviewer put it this way:

" We can't say we want you to sponsor us but the script says you are unscrupulous swines who rape and pillage the land..... they see the first draft of the script....... they don't want the industry shown in an unfavourable light..... you don't bite the hand that feeds you".
Of course this story reflects a much larger issue- the way that the mining industry and corporations in WA are using their money and power to shape the arts and cultural industry and the charitable sector to serve their corporate interests.

This article by Rosemary Neill provides an insight into the corporate takeover of the arts and cultural industry and charitable sector in WA:
In a harbinger of this, some of the country's most powerful businesspeople have teamed up with artists and launched a new, turbo-charged arts lobby, the Chamber of Arts and Culture, aimed at developing a coherent cultural vision for WA. Among the chamber's founding members are Rio Tinto iron ore chief executive Sam Walsh, prominent arts patron and businesswoman Janet Holmes a Court, former WA Chamber of Commerce and Industry boss John Langoulant, KPMG national executive director Helen Cook and former Australia Council chairwoman Margaret Seares.

An alliance of high-powered executives -- some drawn from the blokey resources and engineering sectors -- intent on proselytising for the arts is a first not just for the West but, arguably, for the nation. Walsh says this move signifies that "the state is growing; there is a need for a more creative and vibrant community and arts and culture will help us deliver that and help us attract people. I think the stars are aligned . . . we have a unique opportunity in Perth and WA's history, building on the mining boom, to work on these things." The unfailingly courteous Rio Tinto boss says the chamber has received "very strong support" from Day and federal Arts Minister Simon Crean. He stresses it is not merely an arts lobby; that it will engage with governments, the regions, schools and untapped audiences to spread the word about culture.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Corporate power, corporate criminality and secret lobbying: Goldman Sachs

It has not been a good couple of weeks for Goldman Sachs.

A report by a bipartisan US Senate Committee  into US investment banks has recommended criminal charges be bought against Goldman Sachs . Goldman Sachs and other Wall St firms were described by the Senate Report  as a "financial snake pit rife with greed, conflicts of interest, and wrongdoing." 
Goldman Sachs, the nation's fifth-largest bank by assets, systematically misled clients, sold them financial instruments it knew to be junk, bet against them and profited off of their losses, according to a Senate report released this week.

The report, the product of a two-year investigation, paints the firm as Exhibit A of Wall Street's evolution from a place that raises and deploys capital to worthy businesses into a vulturous creature that preys on unwitting investors.

Goldman's conduct in the two years leading up to the near-implosion of the financial system show a firm dedicated to "sticking it to their own clients," said Senator Carl Levin, a Michigan Democrat who chairs the panel that produced the report. "Goldman gained at the expense of their clients, and used abusive practices to do it."
In the UK a  report published  by SpinWatch UK  exposes  Goldman Sachs political and financial lobbying muscle in the UK and Brussels (The European Parliament).

The report, entitled, Doing God’s Work: How Goldman Sachs Rigs the Game details Goldman Sachs’ secret lobbying activities in the UK and Brussels and links to politicians. It exposes:
  • The extensive links between Goldman Sachs and the Conservative Party;
  •   Political donations totalling £8.5million to British politicians in the past decade from Goldman and ex-Goldman people;
  •    Goldman Sachs’ immense lobbying machine in Brussels, including active membership of over a dozen financial sector lobby groups;
  •    Extensive meetings between Goldman Sachs and Conservative MEPs including: 9 meetings in six months with a key MEP on the Parliament’s Economics and Monetary Committee; and a total of 36 meetings between just four Tory MEPs and Goldman Sachs, its lobby groups or PR companies acting on their behalf;
  •   The bank’s lobbying campaign to undermine political reform on derivatives and alternative investment funds including: private dinners and unminuted "after office hours” meetings, high-level conferences and targeted campaigns to Commission officials, MEPs and their assistants;
  •   How Goldman Sach’s lobbyists tried to undermine amendments in a key report on derivatives, seen as “financial weapons of mass destruction”; 
  •   The bank’s lobbying enabled them to gamble on food futures and drive up prices.
Report author, journalist Andy Rowell said: “A year ago, David Cameron said that lobbying was the next big scandal waiting to happen. This report shows that banks like Goldman Sachs – who are intricately connected to the Tories – continue to lobby to get what they want."

Rowell continued: "The entire regulatory process - and the lobbying activity that surrounds it - has to become significantly more transparent and accountable. If it is allowed to be captured by bankers, the next financial crisis will only be a matter of time.”

Friday, April 22, 2011

This is what privatization delivers: systemic crises in immigration detention

photo courtesy of the ABC

So another privatized detention centre burns. Only weeks after the Christmas Island detention centres erupted in protests, riots and fires, the unrest has spread to Sydney's Villawood Detention Centre.

Former staff of Serco, the UK multinational corporation that runs the privatized detention centres, are already pointing the finger directly at the corporation, claiming that it contributed to the crises. Serco whistle blowers claim that at Villawood (like Christmas Island), Serco's incompetence and mismanagement were a primary cause of the riots.

The whitleblower claims that:
  • Serco management threw raw and untrained recruits into the detention centre without proper training
  • Training courses for new staff were dropped
  • Serco staff lack basic training and are forced to learn "on the job" 
  • Serco management constantly understaff the centre
  • Serco has no effective emergency management procedures for such events.
These are precisely the claims made against Serco at Christmas Island; claims that are now the subject of multiple investigations into Serco's management of the Christmas Island Centres, and it looks likely that the investigations will be extended to include Serco's management of Villawood.

The ABC reports that:
The detention centre was set on fire, while asylum seekers overwhelmed staff from the detention centre service provider, Serco.

The former guard says there would have been 11 staff members rostered on the night the asylum seekers rioted. 

He says his former employer, Serco, does not train staff properly and would not have known what to do when trouble starts. 

"From what I've seen, new recruits are basically put on the floor with no training whatsoever," he said. 

"They were told that they would be trained as they worked and that also has never happened before. Basically what is supposed to happen is, they go through at least a six-week minimum course and then have a year of on-the-job training. 

"Serco basically got rid of the six-week course using staffing levels as an excuse and basically threw the staff onto the floor and expected experienced staff to train them as well as do their normal jobs."

He says Serco has never emphasised emergency response training for incidents like fire and riots experienced on Wednesday night. 

"I am led to believe they still don't have any real effective emergency operational procedures. So basically (Wednesday night) would have been every man for themselves," he said.

In a statement, Serco acknowledged an increased number of arrivals and longer periods of detention have placed significant pressures on their operations. 

The company said its staff training program meets it contractual requirements and that it has provided additional training beyond what is contracted and has invested $1.5 million in staff training.

This is the second Australian immigration detention to be set on fire this year. Riots at the Christmas Island detention centre in March led to tear gas and bean bag rounds being fired at asylum seekers.

The former Villawood guard says the Federal Government should review Serco's contract. 

"They've had pretty poor performance. Basically the spate of incidents, major incidents, under Serco's control have been ... there's just been too many. So I really think that the contract should be reassessed," he said.