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More blowouts on the way: illegal boat arrivals already above financial year estimate



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Scott Morrison, MP

Shadow Minister for Productivity and Population Shadow Minister for Immigration and Citizenship Member for Cook

More blowouts on the way: illegal boat arrivals already above financial year estimate

10/11/10

Taxpayers should brace for further budget blow outs to pay for Labor’s failed border protection policies, with more people having arrived illegally by boat so far this financial year than the government projected would arrive by the end of next June, Shadow Minister for Productivity and Population & Shadow Minister for Immigration and Citizenship, Scott Morrison said today.

“In the May budget the government allocated $327.5 million for offshore asylum seeker management(1) but the funds were based on only 2,000 people illegally arriving by boat this financial year(2). A little more than four months into this financial year and already 2,320 people have arrived,” Mr Morrison said.

“With detention delays increasing and boats coming on an almost daily basis under Minister Bowen’s watch, the estimate of $327.5 million for offshore asylum seeker management is under extreme pressure and taxpayers should brace themselves for further cost explosions,” he said.

“Forward years for 2011/12 and 2012/13 should also be revised to reflect Labor's detention crisis. The suggestion in the current forward estimates that asylum seeker costs will more than halve next financial year, from current budgeted levels, is as ridiculous as it is fiscally irresponsible.

“The budget does not reflect a true indication of the likely costs. Further blowouts are a certainty.

“The release of MYEFO confirmed that taxpayers will be forced to fork out an extra $55 million, as part of Labor’s $170 million immigration detention centre construction program, on the Inverbrackie and Northam centres, both of which will rapidly fill with boat arrivals.

“MYEFO also shows yet another immigration blow out - $11 million for Labor’s independent merits review of refugee decisions for failed asylum seekers who arrive by boat. This review continues to delay final assessments and further clogs an already stressed detention system.

“The farce of the Prime Minister’s East Timor plan continues by the day. Its absence from the pages of MYEFO is yet another reminder that this is a never never ‘solution’,” he said.

[1] Annual administered expenses, community and detention services, Program 4.3 offshore asylum seeker management, Portfolio Budget Estimates 2010-11. Total expenses for program 4.3, $471.2 million

2 Budget Estimates, Legal and Constitutional Affairs Legislation Committee, 27-5-10, p. 25