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Fourth Malaysia-Australia working group on people smuggling wraps up

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Tuesday, 15 November 2011

Fourth Malaysia-Australia working group on people smuggling wraps up

Minister for Home Affairs Brendan O’Connor has welcomed the outcomes of the fourth meeting of the Malaysia-Australia Working Group on People Smuggling and Trafficking in Persons, which finished today.

Mr O’Connor, who opened the two-day meeting yesterday, said Australia and Malaysia had made significant progress since the inaugural meeting of the Working Group in 2009.

“This forum has become a key pillar of our bilateral relationship with Malaysia,” Mr O’Connor said.

“This meeting has been fruitful and productive, setting out future cooperative activities in a range of areas, including border management, legal cooperation, maritime surveillance and interdiction, law enforcement and intelligence sharing.

“Our operational successes in combating people smuggling and related transnational crimes, including the arrest of more than 20 people smuggling facilitators since November 2010, demonstrates what we can achieve through cooperation in the region.”

Mr O’Connor said the Arrangement on Transfer and Resettlement between Australia and Malaysia was an excellent example of like minded countries cooperating to address regional challenges and offered a real prospect of breaking the people smuggling business model.

"As my counterpart, Malaysia’s Minister for Home Affairs, Y B Dato' Seri Hishammuddin Tun Hussein has noted, the fourth working group provides an opportunity to find the best way forward with regard to developing a sustainable regional response to irregular migration,” Mr O’Connor said.

Positive outcomes of the meeting include the agreement between Malaysia and Australia to enhance intelligence sharing and to work together to explore practical approaches to implement the Regional Cooperation Framework agreed by Bali Process Ministers in March this year.

“Australia is committed to strengthening and expanding its cooperation with Malaysia on people smuggling and human trafficking, recognising that effective action to address regional challenges like these requires a regional approach involving the engagement of a range of agencies from partner countries,” Mr O’Connor said.

Media Adviser: Maria Hawthorne 0407 015 986