Rights groups warn investors of the risks of Ferrovial’s bid for Australia’s offshore detention contractor

Rights groups warn investors of the risks of Ferrovial’s bid for Australia’s offshore detention contractor

8 March 2016

Spanish giant Ferrovial has been warned in a new investor alert that it will be exposed to serious legal, financial and reputation risks associated with the Australian offshore detention centres, if its takeover bid for Broadspectrum is successful.

No Business in Abuse, GetUp and the Human Rights Law Centre released the briefing paper in order to warn investors, financers, clients and partners of the risks to Ferrovial should its takeover bid, launched on 7 December 2015, go ahead.

“Ferrovial and the financial community it operates in need to be quite clear that this is an operation with profound risks and a lack of ongoing contract certainty,” said Rachel Ball, Director of Advocacy at the Human Rights Law Centre.

“According to Ferrovial, Broadspectrum derives the majority of its income from the contracts with the Australian Government to manage offshore detention camps in Nauru and Papua New Guinea. Broadspectrum was set to sign a five year contract, however this is in doubt, with the government only agreeing to a one year extension.

“The camps on Nauru and Manus Island are the sites of major human rights abuses, including arbitrary detention, cruel treatment and inhumane conditions.  

“Broadspectrum’s role running the camps in Nauru and Manus Island places the company in clear contravention of its internationally recognised responsibility to respect human rights.” said Ms Ball.

“If this bid is successful, Ferrovial will find itself exposed to liability arising from years of abuse, as well as for ongoing violations against vulnerable asylum seekers and refugees, including children. It is a dangerous move.    

Shen Narayanasamy, the Human Rights Director of GetUp said Broadspectrum’s controversial work with Australia’s offshore detention centres has seen divestments from superannuation funds and local councils.

“To date, four local councils, including the City of Sydney, have excluded Broadspectrum from any future business relationships while they remain involved in business in abuse.    

“The campaign will move to target more local councils, schools, hospitals and big resources companies.

“No company should profit from the abuse of traumatised men, women and children in Australia’s detention camps. Regardless of ownership, the company should end its business in abuse, or face a relentless campaign targeting its clients, investors and financiers,” said Ms Narayanasamy.

You can download a copy of the alert here.


For media enquiries, please contact:
Adrian Dodd, EMC (0401 726 476)
Tom Clarke, Director of Communications, Human Rights Law Centre (0422 545 763)