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PM agrees to progress report on regional approach to people smuggling



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MEDIA RELEASE

23 August 2012

PM AGREES TO PROGRESS REPORT ON REGIONAL APPROACH TO PEOPLE SMUGGLING

THE Prime Minister has agreed that progress on the regional cooperation framework necessary to the success of Australia’s asylum seeker policy should be reported annually to the Parliament.

Independent Lyne MP Rob Oakeshott sought the Prime Minister’s commitment to the regional elements of the Expert Panel on Asylum Seekers report, and to reporting on implementation.

“Like the Expert Panel, I am certain that regional cooperation and bilateral agreements will be central to the success of offshore assessment processes and to protect against loss of life at sea,” Mr Oakeshott said.

Early this year Mr Oakeshott proposed amendments to the Migration Act that would have required an annual report on progress made under the regional cooperation framework known as the Bali Process.

“The Expert Panel’s review lent strong support to the view that working through the Bali Process can build regional support for Australian asylum seeker policy, and the Australian Government accepted all Expert Panel recommendations.

“That is why I wrote to the Prime Minister - to revive support for a mechanism that could assure Parliament that the Bali Process will be progressed - and I am pleased with the Prime Minister’s response,” Mr Oakeshott said.

“Annual reporting will help to assure Parliament that cooperation with our Asia-Pacific neighbours on asylum seekers remains the focus after the immediate policy response is implemented.”

ENDS

Media Contacts: Sharon Fuller - 0429 787320