Australian Immigration Detention Centres to Close to Save Money
Several immigration detention centres are to close on Christmas Island as announced in Australia’s budget. The budget also confirms that there will be cuts in funding for the International Organisation for Migration (IOM) and Refugee Council of Australia.
It’s expected that the closures will save $555 million over the next five years as a result of consolidation of the Australian immigration detention centre network.
In April a judge ordered a temporary delay to demolition plans set to take place on Christmas Island. The judge ruled for a delay in light of an outstanding class action.
The IOM receives funding in order to handle asylum seekers who are stopped while on their way to Australia. It also helps the Indonesian government to closely monitor the migration flow from Indonesia. According to the budget papers, the cost to cover these activities is lower than originally anticipated.
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Australian treasurer, Joe Hockey, said: “Some of the immigration savings would be offset by extra spending for countering terrorism in Australia and military operations against the Islamic State militant group in Iraq. To help pay for this, our tough stand on border protection is delivering a dividend.”
He added: “Our border protection policies have stopped the boats and they have saved lives. As a result, we are saving more than $500m from closing unnecessary immigration detention centres and we are saving on the costs of processing new boat arrivals.”