Joint media release - The Hon Tony Abbott MP, Prime Minister and the Hon Peter Dutton MP, Minister for Immigration and Border Protection
The ongoing success of Operation Sovereign Borders (OSB) and its flow-on effects will deliver savings measures of more than $500 million in the 2015-16 Budget.
OSB has halted the flood of illegal maritime arrivals (IMAs) that were continually filling detention centres across Australia under Labor.
It has allowed the Coalition Government to empty and close many of the 17 additional detention centres opened by the Rudd and Gillard Governments at great cost to the nation between 2008 and 2012.
Closures now of Phosphate Hill and Construction Camp on Christmas Island, Bladin detention centre in Darwin and fewer numbers at remaining centres will realise savings of $326 million over the coming years.
These closures will bring to 13 the number of centres closed since the Coalition took back control of our borders.
With fewer numbers in detention further savings will be made with reduced use of charter flight transfers between the various detention centres providing savings of $66 million.
Reductions in other logistics and service requirements across the detention network will add a further $112 million.
In total, this adds up to savings of more than $500 million over the forward estimates.
Stopping the boats will continue to add further savings of hundreds of millions of dollars over coming years with the financial dividend for Australian taxpayers running into billions of dollars.
Only one people smuggling venture has reached Australia since Operation Sovereign Borders began turning back boats – it carried just 157 IMAs who were transferred to Regional Processing Centres – compared to 534 boats loaded with 35,000 IMAs in the last 18 months of the Labor Government which led to budget blow outs reaching over $11 billion.
In its 20 months of operation, OSB has delivered results that many thought were unattainable – our borders are stronger, countless lives have been saved and our costs are down.
The Coalition has ended Labor’s costly and failed border policies and is working to clean up the people smuggling mess Labor left behind with a legacy caseload of 30,000 IMAs to process.