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Tuesday, 17 February 1987
Page: 17

(Question No. 4436)

Mr Cadman asked the Minister for Immi- gration and Ethnic Affairs, upon notice, on 21 August 1986:

(1) What is the estimated number of persons who are in Australia illegally.

(2) How many officers of his Department are engaged in detecting and detaining illegal immigrants.

(3) How many illegal immigrants have been detected and detained by his Department in the past 12 months.

(4) What has been the average cost of detecting and detaining each of these illegal immigrants.

(5) How many illegal immigrants have been detained during the past 12 months by each of the other Commonwealth and State agencies whose officers are authorised to arrest prohibited immigrants under the provisions of the Migration Act.

Mr Hurford —The answer to the honourable member's question is as follows:

(1) My Department estimates that approximately 50 000 persons are in Australia illegally.

(2) Detecting and detaining illegal immigrants forms part of the duties of around 70 officers.

(3) During the 12 months ended 31 August 1986, 2362 illegal immigrants were physically located by my Department's enforcement staff and 1486 were subsequently taken into custody under the Migration Act.

In addition, during the same period, 1993 illegal immigrants (many of whom had been in contact with my Department) left voluntarily without the necessity for enforcement action.

(4) The costs of detecting and detaining each of these illegal immigrants cannot readily be separated from the overall cost of enforcement activities, for which the total expenditure under Item 360.3.01 ``Expenses Associated with Prohibited Non-Citizens or Persons Refused Entry to Australia'' was $2,870,212 in 1985/86.

This expenditure included fares for deportees and escorts where necessary, use of motor vehicles, costs associated with detention centres, payments to escorts, legal costs and a variety of indirect costs such as interpreters, purchase of equipment and some repairs and maintenance. Item 360.3.01 does not include staff salaries, overtime, travel and other general staffing costs. Records are not maintained in a way which would enable these staffing costs to be separated readily in relation to the detection and detaining of illegal immigrants.

(5) Statistics are not maintained on the number of illegal immigrants arrested by officers of other agencies, however, as far as my Department is aware, few such arrests are made.