The sustained success of the Coalition Government’s border protection policies in preventing successful people smuggling ventures to Australia is delivering a ‘stopping the boats’ dividend to the Australian people, saving taxpayers $2.5 billion in the Budget, Federal Member for Page Kevin Hogan said today.
“The Coalition Government is meeting its commitments to the Australian people. We said we would stop the boats and we are doing what we said. No successful people smuggling venture has arrived in Australia for almost five months,” he said.
“The full suite of Government policies – particularly removing vessels that seek to arrive in Australia illegally – backed by strong resolve, will ensure sustained success on our borders and continued reductions in cost to taxpayers.
“The Government’s $2.5 billion budget dividend gained from stopping illegal boats is in stark contrast to Labor’s budgets which forecast less illegal boat arrivals and reduced costs without basis, inevitably leading to budget blow outs which reached $11.5 billion.
“The sustained reduction in illegal arrivals under Operation Sovereign Borders is also enabling us to close a further six detention centres by the end of 2014-15, producing a saving to taxpayers of $283 million over four years.
“The former Labor government opened 17 detention facilities across Australia as part of their border failure led detention centre revolution.
“A further budget saving of over $260 million will be delivered by axing Labor’s generous family reunion programme for illegal boat arrivals.
“Stopping the boats is also delivering a humanitarian dividend. Not only is no one dying at sea but the Government is freeing up 20,000 extra places within the Special Humanitarian Program (SHP) of Australia’s humanitarian intake over five years that will assist those most in need of resettlement.
“Under Labor, record illegal boat arrivals meant those waiting offshore to come to Australia through the SHP the right way simply missed out on the opportunity. That will not occur under the Coalition Government.
“Stopping the boats is also enabling the Coalition Government to deliver a reform dividend with the creation of the Australian Border Force to protect the Australian community from the transnational criminal threat posed by drugs, guns and other illicit imports while facilitating the movement in and out of Australia of legitimate goods, services and people on which our prosperity depends.
“The ABF will combine the border functions of the Department of Immigration and Border Protection (DIBP) and the Australian Customs and Border Protection Service (ACBPS). The ABF will pick up where Operation Sovereign Borders leaves off, achieving more integrated, more strategic and ultimately more effective border operations in critical areas such as investigations, compliance, detention and enforcement – positioning Australia to deal with future as well as current border security challenges.
“The consolidated Australian Border Force will come into effect from 1 July 2015.
“Our measures will deliver a stronger border and a stronger budget. They will deliver a stronger and more secure Australia, while supporting a growing and more prosperous economy.
“The Coalition Government is delivering on its commitment to stop the boats and in doing so delivering important dividends for the Australian people, despite continued opposition to our policies from Labor and the Greens,” Mr Hogan said.