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Border Protection stretched by Rudd policy.

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Media contact: Penny Watts (02) 60213264 0428 213 264

The Hon SUSSAN LEY MP Federal Member for Farrer Shadow Minister for Justice and Customs

26 June 2009

MEDIA RELEASE For immediate release

Border Protection stretched by Rudd policy

Kevin Rudd and Labor’s bungled approach to border protection is stretching the Australian Customs and Border Protection Service beyond capacity, Shadow Customs and Justice Minister Sussan Ley said today.

The Australian reported today that Customs Border Protection Command is on high alert for more than 100 unauthorised arrivals, understood to be en route to Australia, after having left from Indonesia.

Only days ago a boat carrying 49 asylum seekers and four crew was intercepted just six kilometres southeast of Ashmore reef, making it the 14th boat to arrive this year.

“Customs and Border Protection has finite resources, which it is now forced to deploy in this one pocket of ocean, all because of Labor’s changed asylum seeker policy,” Ms Ley said.

She said Customs was doing a remarkable job considering the limited resources they had, comprising the contracted ACV Triton, the ageing Customs Bay Class vessels and contracted surveillance aircraft.

“Thankfully our Navy is on hand to help interdict and take on board these large numbers of unauthorised arrivals because Customs has simply not been provided with the necessary assets by the Rudd Government.

“With the rate of boatpeople arriving, it is impossible for Customs and Border Protection to continue to mop up the Rudd Labor Government’s policy mess,” Ms Ley said.

“The Christmas Island immigration facility is near capacity and the Government has no contingency plan with more asylum seekers expected to set sail with the green light of Labor’s softened asylum seeker strategy.

“The Government should either reverse its grave policy mistake or reverse its budget cuts to Customs” Ms Ley said.