Wednesday, 27 August 2014
Questions without Notice
My question is to the Minister for Immigration and Border Protection. Will the minister update the House on the savings to the budget achieved as a result of the government's successful border-protection policies? How have savings been achieved in relation to the onshore immigration and detention network?
I thank the member for Durack for her question. The savings to the budget this year, the budget that this Treasurer and this government have introduced, is to do one simple thing: to clean up the fiscal mess left behind by those on that side of the House
The saving, as a result of the success we have had on border protection, is $2.5 billion. The success of Operation Sovereign Borders continues because, since 19 December last year, there has been one successful venture where people have been transferred to immigration authorities, and all 157 of those went to Nauru within the course of one week. But I ask the House if they are aware of how many vessels and ventures turned up over the similar period under the previous government. It certainly was not one. But I am sure the member for Durack will remember one of them—the one that cruised into Geraldton harbour that day. But it was not one; it was not 10; it was not 50; it was not 100; it was not 200; it was not 250. There were 275!
The success of the border protection measures of this government is not only delivering savings to the budget in the form of reduced arrivals but delivering it in savings on the onshore detention network. $283 million is being saved in addition to that $2.5 billion by closing the detention centres that the Labor Party opened because of their border failures.
We have read in the extracts from Paul Kelly's book about the Oceanic Viking debacle, but we have also read in that piece in The Australian today about the other thing that happened—and that was the opening of the Curtin Detention Centre, we understand, almost at the point of tears by the immigration minister at the time when there were over 2,200 people crammed into Christmas Island, and they finally had to admit that the surge had begun and the chaos had begun. The first thing they did was to open the Curtin Detention Centre. I can tell the House that, this week, the last of the 115 people in the Curtin Detention Centre are leaving that centre, and that centre will be closed this year. I remember at the time, when that centre was opened by the former government, I said, 'I look forward to the day that, when our successful policies are in place, we can close that centre.' And that is now happening because this government's border protection policies are working and are delivering dividends in every respect, whether it is in humanitarian terms from the loss of life that is being avoided or whether it is in humanitarian terms for getting children out of detention. But it is also fiscally in terms of the budget, with savings of over $2.5 billion.
We are doing what we said we would do, and we are getting the results we said we could get. And that is why the Australian people trust this party—this government—to protect our borders.