Maribyrnong Detention Centre. Photo: Shannon Morris
The contractor running Australia's mainland immigration detention centres has lost a bid for an injunction stopping an ex-employee working for a rival on Manus Island.
The managing director of Serco's immigration detentions centres, Christopher Manning, left the company in May.
He was hired by G4S in September, shortly before the company secured the contract to run the Manus Island centre in Papua New Guinea.
Mr Manning was tasked with managing the project and helped G4S in its bid for the job.
But Serco took legal action against him in the ACT Supreme Court, claiming he breached a contract banning him from working for a rival in Australia for a year.
Mr Manning's legal team argued their client had honoured the terms of the agreement.
In October the contractor sought an interim injunction banning Mr Manning from working for G4S until the court case was resolved.
Lawyers for Serco told Master David Harper that their former employee had detailed knowledge of confidential information and a tight relationship with the Department of Immigration and Citizenship.
They said his work with Serco's rivals had the capacity to damage its commercial operations and relationship with the department.
But Master Harper on Wednesday said the Supreme Court had since offered an expedited hearing date, and granting the injunction would case ''immediate negative effect'' to G4S.
The master said while the rival contractor wasn't a party to the case there was an ''irresistible inference'' they were legally backing him. ''Nevertheless, there is no basis for a conclusion that G4S has enticed the defendant away from the plaintiff, or that G4S has any intention of utilising the defendant's services to enhance its relationship with the [government or DIAC],'' he said.
He refused the injunction, and ordered Serco to pay Mr Manning's legal costs for the application.
The decision comes after the first groups of asylum seekers arrived at the PNG facility.