The Government is taking decisive action to further strengthen and protect our border security by introducing two new measures that will support regional processing arrangements.
We will establish an independent Medical Transfer Clinical Assurance Panel to provide an additional layer of oversight of decisions for the medical transfer of individuals from regional processing countries. The decision on whether or not to make a medical transfer will remain a matter for the Government.
We have also been working with the Pacific International Hospital in Port Moresby to establish an inpatient mental health service. This initiative will further improve mental health services and support to transferees in Papua New Guinea. It reflects our ongoing commitment to support the Government of PNG to ensure that transferees are provided with a range of health, welfare and support services.
Regional processing is a key feature of Operation Sovereign Borders, and has been since its inception in 2013. It is a fundamental part of our overall policy, which has successfully stopped the boats and prevented deaths at sea.
This is about strengthening the medical transfer process which has always been a feature of Operation Sovereign Borders, with medical transfers occurring on a case-by-case basis, on the advice of treating doctors in PNG and Nauru and in consultation with a medical officer of the Commonwealth.
The new Panel will be appointed by the Minister and will provide a public report to Parliament twice a year. The Panel will be chaired by a nominee of the Commonwealth Chief Medical
Officer, together with other respected clinicians including members with torture and trauma counselling experience.
Unlike Labor and the laws they’re supporting through the Parliament, we’ll never outsource Australia’s strong border protection to activists.
The Bill that Labor voted for in the Senate in December last year outsources the decisions on medical transfers to any two doctors anywhere in Australia. It applies to people on Manus and Nauru now and any future arrivals – with no requirement that those doctors ever meet the individual involved.
The Bill that Labor has supported will end offshore processing as we know it. It will restart the criminal people smuggling trade. It will open up our borders to illegal maritime arrivals once again.
The last time Labor weakened our border protection policies, 50,000 people arrived on 800 boats and 1200 people died at sea, including children.
This Government is doing everything in its power to ensure that never occurs again.