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Budget 2003: Budget flags major savings on unauthorised arrivals.

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The Minister for Immigration and Multicultural and Indigenous Affairs, Phillip Ruddock today announced a saving of $467 million over four years due to the reduction in illegal boat arrivals.

“The success of offshore processing, and the resultant stemming of illegal boat arrivals has enabled us to return money to the Budget,” Mr Ruddock said.

“A significant reduction in the estimated number of illegal arrivals has enabled a saving of $437 million over four years,” he said.

Mr Ruddock said that Government policy to counter people smuggling, including processing all unauthorised boat arrivals offshore had resulted in no boat arrivals onshore since August 2001 and no new arrivals at offshore centres since December 2001.

“Consequently, the Government has downgraded its estimate of the number of illegal arrivals from 4500 to 1000 a year from 2003-04.

“The rationalisation of onshore detention facilities following the opening of the Baxter detention facility will allow saving on onshore detention of $30.7 million over four years.

“Closure of the Woomera Immigration Reception and Processing Centre will result in a reduction in operational costs of $10 million a year in 2003-04 and $13 million a year thereafter.

“These savings give us the opportunity to identify funds to contribute to enhanced alternative detention arrangements for women and children.”

Mr Ruddock said $1.6 million had been allocated for an alternative detention Residential Housing Project to be developed in conjunction with the Baxter facility.

He said the project would have running costs of some $3.2 million annually.

“Once a housing project is established near Baxter, the closure of the Woomera RHP would be fea-sible.”

Mr Ruddock said also included in the Budget is funding for $4 million in additional capital works at Baxter for the provision of more durable accommodation units with a higher level of fire resistance and to support more flexible management of detainees.

“The Budget also provides funding of approximately $0.5 million a year to support alternative detention through foster care arrangements for unaccompanied minors,” he said.

“I will continue to monitor our detention requirements, ensuring that we can manage the population in detention appropriately and that additional capacity will be available should the need arise.

“The government continues to maintain appropriate levels of contingency capacity. Work on improving and increasing capacity for our compliance caseload is also continuing,” Mr Ruddock said.

13 May

Media inquiries: Steve Ingram 0419 278 715

Budget flags major savings on unauthorised arrivals