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Defence help ease strain on Christmas Island resources.



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Media Release The Hon Bruce Scott MP Minister for Veterans’ Affairs · Minister Assisting the Minister for Defence · Federal Member for Maranoa

19 Aug 2001 MIN 190801/01

Joint Media Release

The Hon Philip Ruddock MP

Minister for Immigration and

Multicultural Affairs

The Hon Bruce Scott MP

Minister Assisting the Minister for

Defence

19 August 2001

 

DEFENCE HELP EASE STRAIN ON CHRISTMAS ISLAND RESOURCES Two Royal Australian Air Force C130 Hercules aircraft are bound for Christmas Island to assist Immigration authorities ease the strain on the island’s resources following the latest boat arrival, the Minister for Immigration and Multicultural Affairs, Philip Ruddock, and the Minister Assisting the Minister for Defence, Bruce Scott announced today.

A boat carrying 348 men, women and children, believed to be of Middle Eastern origin, arrived on Christmas Island, 2650 kilometres north-west of Perth, on Thursday.

Mr Ruddock said, the arrival had placed a significant strain on the island’s resources.

"It is important that this large group of people are relocated to an immigration processing facility as soon as possible.

"Immigration officials have advised me of other possible boat movements, which makes the relocation of these recent arrivals a high priority."

Mr Scott said Mr Ruddock had requested Defence assistance in transporting the asylum seekers to Port Hedland after exhausting civil charter means.

"Two RAAF C130 Hercules transport aircraft will fly a shuttle service between Christmas Island and Port Hedland over the next 24 hours to relocate more than 230 people.

"The aim of this operation is to ease the stress and strain on all involved as quickly as possible."

The Ministers said Defence’s rapid response to the Department of Immigration and Multicultural Affairs request had resulted in a quick resolution, to a potential overcrowding issue, which would benefit both Christmas Island and the recent arrivals.

Media Contact:

Steve Ingram 0419 278 715 (Minister Ruddock’s Office)

Mark Croxford 0408 645 787 (Minister Scott’s Office)

 

Phone: 61 (02) 62777820 Fax: 62734140 Email: Bruce.Scott.MP@aph.gov.au Website: http://www.defence.gov.au

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