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Illegal immigrant problem quickly reaching crisis proportions says opposition.



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Media Release

The Hon Con Sciacca, MP

Shadow Minister for Immigration

Shadow Minister Assisting the Leader of the Opposition

on Multicultural Affairs

Federal Member for Bowman

 

ILLEGAL IMMIGRANT PROBLEM QUICKLY REACHING

CRISIS PROPORTIONS SAYS OPPOSITIO N

 

Reports of the possible thwarting of attempts by up to 2,000 Somalis to board a ship in Somalia bound for Australia, highlights the seriousness of the illegal immigrant problem facing our Country, according to Shadow Minister for Immigration, Con Sciacc a

 

“The situation is fast reaching crisis proportions and its resolution should be towards the top of the Government agenda’, Mr Sciacca said

 

“While I commend the Minister and Immigration Department Officials for having detected this latest attempt to infiltrate our Country, the situation is flow becoming a major crisis and the Government must provide all possible resources to address this issue’, Mr Sciacca Said.

 

Mr Sciacca continued his calls for the Government to increase intelligence-gathering personnel at Australia’s immigration posts around the World to detect in particular organised people smuggling rackets, before they set off for Australia.

 

Mr Sciacca said that by not providing adequate extra resources in both the coastal surveillance area and immigration intelligence gathering in overseas posts, the Government is sending a message to the people smugglers that Australia is an easy target.

 

“The Government tells us that we have a $5.4 Billion dollar budget surplus available What is the point of having so much money if some of it is not used to safeguard our borders and maintain the integrity of our migration program?" Mr Sciacca said.

 

“We have a wonderful reputation as a generous, open hearted country when it comes to providing safe haven to genuine refugees who suffer persecution in their own Countries Such as the Kosovo refugees.

 

“Genuine refugees have always been welcomed into our Country, subject only to our refugee program constraints.

 

“We must not however, be seen as easy target by either human traffickers or those who try to circumvent our migration program”, Mr Sciacca said.

 

It is understood that this latest attempt to smuggle 2,000 people into Australia from Somalia, most of whom are paying up to US$2,300 for the trip, is being closely monitored and should be thwarted.

 

Over the past eight months, over 1,600 illegal migrants have reached our shores, both by air or sea with recent detection and landings taking place on Holloways Beach near Cairns, Port Kembla, Scotts Heads near Coffs Harbour and Ashmore Reef in the Northern Territory.

 

Ends

 

Sunday 23 May 1999

 

Media inquiries:

Con Sciacca or Luke Giribon

0418 872 061 0411 869 816

 

 

jk  1999-05-25  11:06