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Government committed to detention regime.

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Government committed to detention regime

VPS 82/2004

Minister for Immigration, Amanda Vanstone, reaffirmed the Government's commitment to mandatory detention, as part of its strategy to control unauthorised immigration into Australia.

'To release all children from detention in Australia would be to send a message to people smugglers that if they carry children on dangerous boats, parents and children will be released into the community very quickly,' Senator Vanstone said.

'One of the key reasons the number of illegal boat arrivals to Australia have virtually ceased is because of the detention regime.

'At present, there are only 12 children in mainland detention centres in Australia who have arrived, with parents, illegally by boat.

'Of these children, 11 could be in alternative detention arrangements but their parents have refused.

'There are 11 children on Christmas Island who also arrived illegally by boat.

'In addition, there are 28 children currently in alternative detention arrangements. There are 37 children in detention centres, detained as a direct result of compliance activities. These children are detained normally for no more than a few weeks while departure arrangements are made. They are NOT long-term detainees.

'Australia is committed to alternative detention arrangements, a commitment supported by the extension of Residential Housing Projects announced in the recent Budget.

'The arrangements I announced last week and implemented this week for the Bakhtiyari children and their mother in Adelaide also reflect the Government's commitment to alternative detention, particularly for those children who are in Australia for extended periods pending the outcome of litigation.

'On Nauru, 54 of the 74 children have now been assessed as refugees and are in the process of being resettled to Australia.

'It shouldn't be forgotten that the mandatory detention regime was implemented by Labor and the Opposition has, at no time, indicated it would change the policy.'

10 June 2004