UNCERTAINTY surrounds the future of Pontville Detention Centre after its last detainees were moved out last week, leaving the facility empty.
The centre's staff were told via email on Friday that the centre would be placed into ``hot contingency'' - or in the words of the workers' representative union, ``effectively put into mothballs and kept tidy''.
United Voices branch secretary Helen Gibbons said the decision was frustrating for more than 200 people employed at the centre who now faced an unpredictable future.
``It's a well-run facility with a good track record - everyone tried really hard,'' Ms Gibbons said.
``It's an awful blow to workers who have been there a while now.
``It was a political decision - it's not what's cost-effective or good for immigrants.''
A Serco spokesman said it was too soon to discuss the security staff's future.
Brighton Mayor Tony Foster, who was alerted to the government's decision on Wednesday, said it appeared the department ``had no idea what the future held''.
``I don't like the idea of asylum seekers being incarcerated but that's federal policy so we live with that,'' he said.
``I look at the benefit to the Tasmanian community.''
He said the centre helped boost the economy and provided jobs for the region.
``We don't need any more people unemployed. There are lots of staff there, local people, who didn't have jobs and thought they would be there for a number of years.''
Immigration Minister Scott Morrison was unable to clarify what would happen to the centre.
``We are reviewing the operations of the immigration detention network in light of the government's policies and will be making such decisions when that assessment has concluded,'' he said.
The final 40 teen boys released from Pontville last week will find a happy welcome in the community, according to Tasmanian Asylum Seeker Support spokeswoman Clarissa Adriel.
``Everyone is very happy they can make a start in the community,'' she said.
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