Tuesday, 06 October 2020
Media release

Securing and Uniting Australia as part of the Government’s economic recovery plan

Joint media release with Minister Dutton


The Morrison Government is ensuring that Australia remains a safer and more united nation as part of our Economic Recovery Plan.

The safety and security of Australians is the Morrison Government's number one priority.

As Australia faces the single greatest challenge in more than a generation, the 2020-21 Budget focuses on securing our borders and providing the resources to confront the pandemic and protect Australians.

Since the establishment of the Home Affairs Portfolio in December 2017, extensive work has been undertaken in relation to catastrophic contingency planning, including a potential health pandemic.

This preparatory work formed a solid foundation for our rapid response to the COVID-19 outbreak.

The work of the Australian Border Force has been integral to the Government's efforts to slow the transmission of COVID-19 across our border while facilitating essential travel and keeping supply chains moving.

Through our collective efforts, we have been able to slow the rate of infection and protect vulnerable Australians by maintaining social distancing, contact tracing and quarantining.

National Security

Australia faces a contested, rapidly evolving strategic environment that challenges our security, sovereignty and prosperity.

We are committed to keeping all Australians safe and secure. National security is a key priority for the Government which is why we have committed to invest $173.5 million to support our national security objectives.

The Australian Federal Police will receive $300.2 million to maintain frontline policing, enhance the AFP's surge capacity, and provide for a healthy and agile workforce to respond to emerging and enduring threats.

AUSTRAC will receive $104.9 million to position the agency to do the following:

  • Achieve stronger and more sustainable regulatory and intelligence outcomes by modernising AUSTRAC's ageing reporting system.
  • Enhance industry compliance with anti-money laundering and counter-terrorism financing obligations.
  • Enhance the agency's ability to detect, investigate and take enforcement against non-compliance.
  • Ensure greater cooperation with our key international counterparts on joint operations.

To protect the community from unlawful non-citizens including those released from prisons, but unable to be deported due to COVID19 restrictions, the Government will provide $55.6 million in 2020-21 to reactivate North West Point immigration detention centre on Christmas Island.  Up to 250 high-risk detainees including those who have been convicted for crimes involving assault, sexual offences, drugs and other violent offences will be transferred to Christmas Island.

The Safer Communities Fund (SCF) will continue for a sixth round, receiving $35.0 million over four years to ensure community and local government organisations can address crime and anti-social behaviour.

2020 Cyber Security Strategy

The Cyber security of all Australians, from our critical infrastructure providers to small business and the community, is key to protecting Australia's economy, national security and sovereignty and keeping Australians safe.

The 2020-21 Budget has allocated $201.5 million for initiatives to implement the 2020 Cyber Security Strategy including building new cybersecurity and law enforcement capabilities, assisting industry to protect themselves and raising the community's understanding of how to stay safe online.

Critical Infrastructure and Systems of National Significance

The Morrison Government is committed to protecting Australia's critical infrastructure to secure the essential services all Australians rely on - everything from electricity and water, to healthcare and groceries.

Included as part of the funding allocated to the 2020 Cyber Security Strategy, $8.3 million will be used towards improving the security and resilience of critical infrastructure entities  across various sectors crucial to protect our economy, security, and sovereignty.

Operation Sovereign Borders

To preserve our strong border protection approach to illegal maritime arrivals, Australia maintains the policy setting that persons who travel illegally to Australia by boat will not permanently settle in Australia.

This policy has proven to be overwhelmingly successful in stemming the flow of illegal maritime arrivals.

To further the success of Operation Sovereign Borders, an additional $41.4 million has been allocated to support Australia's Regional Cooperation Arrangement in Indonesia.

Simplified Trade System

Australia's prosperity relies on how quickly and easily businesses can trade internationally. The Government has allocated $28.6 million to implement a simplified trade system. This investment reinforces the Government's commitment to fostering and facilitating trade and creating jobs while strengthening supply chain security.

The funding will also support foundation work towards Trade Single Window, which is a simplified and integrated trade approvals program designed to cut red tape at the border, saving industry time and money as well as boosting productivity. This will also support new approaches to coordinating supply chains and managing cargo and logistics.

Modern Slavery

Australia is a global leader in the fight to eradicate modern slavery, with the world's most advanced supply chain transparency legislation.

The 2020-21 Budget has allocated $10.6 million to implement the Government's next five-year National Action Plan to Combat Modern Slavery 2020-25, which will guide our response to fighting this crime and supporting victims. This funding will help equip businesses to manage supply chain risks, provide multi-year grant funding opportunities for organisations to deliver projects to combat modern slavery in Australia, and assist international partners to address modern slavery and human trafficking.


A carefully managed Migration Program is an important part of Australia's economic recovery and will create jobs and bring high value investment to help Australia rebound from COVID-19.

In 2020-21 the planned ceiling for the Migration Program will remain at 160,000 places.

The program will have a strong focus on attracting the best and brightest migrants from around the world, with a tripling of the Global Talent Independent program allocation to 15,000 places and an increase in the Business Innovation and Investment Program (BIIP) to 13,500 places. The BIIP will also be streamlined and reformed to ensure that investments are targeted at Australian venture capitals and emerging small and medium size businesses to support the economic recovery. 

The Family stream planning level has been set at 77,300 places, including 72,300 within the Partner category.

While overall the government has placed greater emphasis on the family stream, most of these are people already in Australia. Of the new permanent residents coming into the country, we still anticipate that approximately two thirds will be in the skilled stream and one third from the family stream.

There will be 13,750 places allocated for the Humanitarian Program. The Government will continue to invest to improve settlement and employment outcomes for humanitarian entrants, including through previously announced reforms to the Adult Migrant English Program (AMEP), and developing a reform program for settlement services and the Community Sponsorship Program.

The Government will also offer Visa Application Charge (VAC) refunds, waivers or visa extensions to visa holders who have been unable to travel to Australia due to COVID-19. This includes waiving the VAC for Working Holiday Makers and Visitors to boost tourism once the borders re-open.

Social Cohesion

The Government will continue to keep Australians together and grow our social cohesion in the face of unprecedented challenges. 

The 2020-21 Budget has allocated $62.8 million to support Australia's social cohesion and ensure the values and institutions that unite us as Australians remain strong. This builds on the $71 million dollar package of social cohesion measures announced in March 2019.

Combatting violence against women and children is a top priority of the Government.  To provide additional support to partner migrants while also enhancing social cohesion, the Government will extend the family sponsorship framework to Partner visas, strengthening the existing family violence provisions within the Partner visa program.  The introduction of an English language requirement for Partner visa applicants and permanent resident sponsors will further support integration and access to key services.