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Tuesday, 30 October 2012
Page: 12574

Mr BOWEN (McMahonMinister for Immigration and Citizenship) (16:57): I move:

That this bill be now read a second time.

This bill provides additional funding to the Department of Immigration and Citizenship for the requirements for departmental equity injections and requirements to create or acquire administered assets to discharge administered liabilities. The total appropriation being sought in Appropriation (Implementation of the Report of the Expert Panel on Asylum Seekers) Bill (No. 2) 2012-2013 is $267,980,000. The government will provide to the Department of Immigration and Citizenship $267,380,000 of administered assets and liabilities, funding in this bill for the Offshore Asylum Seeker Management program. This is to meet initial capital costs required to establish regional processing centres on Nauru and Manus Island, as recommended by the Expert Panel on Asylum Seekers.

I note that the re-establishment of offshore processing in these places has the support of the coalition. The government will also be providing the Department of Immigration and Citizenship with $600,000 of departmental equity injections, funding in this bill for the settlement services program. This is for the departmental costs associated with the implementation of the recommendation of the expert panel to increase humanitarian migration to 20,000 places.

These are vital elements that go to the implementation of a suite of measures that can break the people-smuggling trade and save lives at sea by preventing these dangerous boat journeys in the first place. We do want to remove the incentive for people to travel to Australia by boat, whether it is by providing more offshore refugee places, removing the special humanitarian program family reunion concessions for boat arrivals or transferring post-August 13 arrivals to Nauru and Manus Island.

The way in which this government has been implementing the expert panel's recommendations provides clear evidence of our determination to break the people smugglers' business model. This is only the beginning. Transfers continue to Nauru while Manus Island will shortly start receiving arrivals, and work is continuing on both islands to increase capacity. Of course, as we continue to implement more of the panel's recommendations, we will start to see a greater impact on reducing boat numbers. Should the opposition or the Greens party, for that matter, choose to stop hindering the government, they would support the Malaysia agreement—an agreement the expert panel acknowledged was the pathway to a truly regional and sustainable solution to irregular migration. I commend the bill to the House.

Debate adjourned.