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Tuesday, 19 August 1980
Page: 416

Dr Cass (MARIBYRNONG, VICTORIA) asked the Minister for Immigration and Ethnic Affairs, upon notice, on 2 April 1980:

(1)   At what stage of development is the proposed refugee processing island centre in Indonesia for which the Australian Government has already contributed $250,000.

(2)   Does the Government propose to increase this contribution to the centre.

(3)   When will the Island centre be operational.

(4)   What supervision and/or control is envisaged for Australia in the design, administration and the every-day running of that centre.

(5)   From which countries will refugees be accommodated in the camp.

(6)   Will refugees arriving unannounced in Australia be deported to this camp.

Mr Macphee - The answer to the honourable member's question is as follows:

(1)   Construction of the refugee processing centre on Galang Island in Indonesia has commenced. Development is at an early stage.

(2)   The Australian Government has not been asked, and at the present time is not planning, to increase the contribution of $250,000 already made towards the cost of the centre. However, the Government has undertaken to contribute towards maintenance costs when these have been assessed and the centre becomes operational.

(3)   No date is yet available and progress will depend on a number of factors. The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees is hopeful the centre will be operational by about August this year.

(4)   Australia will not have a supervisory role in the design or administration of the centre. The Indonesian Government, in consultation with UNHCR, is the responsible authority. It is envisaged that UNHCR will maintain a presence on Galang Island and participation on the executive committee of the UNHCR will enable Australia to express views on the operation of the centre.

(5)   and (6) It is expected that the Indonesian Government, in consultation with UNHCR, other ASEAN and resettlement countries will determine, as the need arises, which refugees will use the centre.

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