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Minister to visit Indonesia.

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Parliamentary Secretary


Minister to visit Indonesia

Tuesday, 15 January 2008

Senator Chris Evans, the Minister for Immigration and Citizenship, will depart for Indonesia tomorrow (Wednesday January 16) to hold talks with his Indonesian counterpart, the Minister for Law and Human Rights, Mr Andi Mattalatta.

Senator Evans said the talks would focus on strengthening Australia’s relationship with Indonesia in dealing with migration issues, including border security and people smuggling.

'Indonesia is a key partner for Australia and we are committed to a close, practical working relationship on issues of mutual interest,' Senator Evans said.

'I intend to promote an understanding of Australian Government views, and to renew and intensify our commitment to a robust and supportive relationship with Indonesia.

'The Australian Government recognises the crucial role that Indonesia plays in regional border security and preventing the illegal movement of boats organised by people smugglers.'

Senator Evans said the Department of Immigration and Citizenship was working with Indonesian immigration officials to develop a state-of-the-art movement alert system to provide Indonesia with a greater capacity to identify people of concern, such as terrorists, criminals and people smugglers.

'A key benefit of close cooperation with Indonesia is improved border security for both countries,' Senator Evans said.

'Projects like these help make travel in the region safer and more secure.'

Senator Evans will also have discussions with the Indonesian Minister for Foreign Affairs, Dr Hassan Wirajuda, representatives from the Indonesian Parliamentary Commissions on Legal Affairs and Foreign Affairs, and regional representatives of the

International Organization for Migration (IOM) and the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR).

'IOM is a major partner in the delivery of many Department of Immigration and Citizenship programs in Indonesia,' the minister said.

'Likewise, the UNHCR plays a crucial role in dealing with the situation of asylum seekers in the region and addressing protection issues.

'I am confident that the visit will provide the basis for us to identify

Senator Chris Evans Minister for Immigration and Citizenship


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further opportunities for us to work together in other areas of mutual interest and benefit.

'A robust immigration program also benefits both countries through forging closer people-to-people links and we have seen a steady growth in Indonesian visitors to Australia with nearly 60 000 visitor visas granted last year.'

Senator Evans will stop off at Christmas Island en-route to Jakarta to visit the nearly-completed immigration detention centre (IDC).

'The new centre is scheduled to open in the coming months and will provide an increased capacity for offshore processing of unauthorised arrivals,' Senator Evans said.

"The facility will house 400 people with a surge capacity for a further 400.

'The Australian Government is committed to dismantling the Pacific strategy. The Christmas Island IDC will play a key role in the orderly processing of unauthorised arrivals to our country,'

Senator Evans added.

Media enquiries: Simon Dowding (02) 6277 7860 or 0411 138 541 (m)

See: Index of Media Releases

URL: /media/media-releases/2008/ce08005.htm Last update: 15 January 2008 at 19:04 AEST