Senate debates

Thursday, 14 November 2013

Questions without Notice: Additional Answers

Asylum Seekers, Department of Immigration and Border Protection

3:04 pm

Photo of Michaelia CashMichaelia Cash (WA, Liberal Party, Assistant Minister for Immigration and Border Protection) Share this | | Hansard source

During question time, in response to a question from Senator Lundy, I advised that in relation to Blaydin Point I would provide additional information. I now have that additional information for Senator Lundy. Immigration statistics including visa reports, immigration detention and illegal boat arrivals on bridging visas will continue to be updated regularly on the Department of Immigration and Border Protection's website. The government will consider the long-term future of the Blaydin Point facility in the context of the ongoing operational needs of the onshore immigration detention network, which is still dealing with the effects of Labor's failed border protection policies that brought over 50,000 people on illegal boats to Australia. This work will take into account the requirements of the network to accommodate the size and demographics of detention requirements into the future. The department regularly reviews the immigration detention network to ensure its size and profile meet the needs of the immigration detention population.

I also have information in relation to the question that I took on notice from Senator Carr. I can confirm to Senator Carr that there have been no cuts to the Customs or Department of Immigration and Border Protection budgets under this government and no cuts to staff. Staffing levels may ebb and flow due to normal attrition. Department and agency heads have not been told to sack temporary workers; they have been told to ensure that existing non-ongoing employment arrangements cease at the end of their current term and to refrain from entering into new arrangements. However, they have the flexibility to enter into new temporary arrangements or extend existing contracts where these are critical to meeting business demand, particularly where this impacts on the community—for example, to ensure demand for call centre services is met. However, I do remind Senator Carr that it was the failures of the Labor government that led to the arrival of more than 50,000 people, creating cost, chaos and tragedy, gridlocking the department of immigration and attracting staff and effort from the department's core business.