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AFMA response letter


9 January 2009

Mr Graeme Innes AM

Human Rights Commissioner and Disability Discrimination Commissioner

Australian Human Rights Commission

GPO Box 5218


Dear Mr Innes

2008 Immigration Detention Report

Thank you for your letter of 10 December 2008 providing the Australian Fisheries

Management Authority (AFMA) with an opportunity to respond to the above report.

AFMA notes this report of the Commission on immigration detention facilities.

Several AFMA officers are undergoing language training doing either a Graduate Diploma or

Diploma in Indonesian language. AFMA provides this language program to its officers to

improve and assist communication with Indonesian fishers. There are a variety of languages

spoken by fishers conducting illegal activities within Australian waters. It is not practical

to have fisheries officers trained in the variety of different languages that may be encountered

at sea, such as Bahasa Indonesia, Spanish, Japanese, Mandarin, Sinhalese, Thai, Russian and

Korean. AFMA considers that the officers' use of language cards used is a useful substitute.

The language cards are available in all of the above languages and are used to convey basic

messages and questions to the crew at the point of boarding and apprehension. AFMA is

currently revising its language cards and these will be issued to all officers by the end of

January 2009.

If you have any queries or require further information I can be contacted by telephone (02)

6225 5309 or email

Yours sincerely

Rohan Wilson

A/g General Manager Operations