JOINT MEDIA RELEASE - Prime Minister, Hon. Malcolm Turnbull MP and Minister for Immigation and Border Protection, Hon. Peter Dutton MP
Today is an important milestone for Operation Sovereign Borders (OSB), marking two years since the last successful people smuggling venture.
This achievement is a result of the Coalition's vigilant commitment to its successful border policy.
The Prime Minister reiterated his Government's commitment to protecting Australia's borders, stamping out people smuggling and preventing people risking their lives at sea.
"Secure borders and a well-managed migration system are the bedrock of confidence on which our successful multicultural society is built."
The Minister for Immigration and Border Protection Peter Dutton said Operation Sovereign Borders has been a notable success.
"Since OSB commenced, 700 people from 28 people smuggling ventures have been returned to their countries of departure," Mr Dutton said.
"Settlement in Australia will never be an option for people who attempt to travel illegally by boat. There are no exceptions."
People smugglers should be warned that Australia's maritime assets are strongly positioned to detect and turn back any people smuggling ventures.
"Intelligence tells us that we must remain resolute because people smugglers are continuing to work hard to convince vulnerable people to get on unsafe people smuggling boats, " Mr Dutton said.
"I urge families here in Australia to tell their loved ones overseas not to risk their lives and waste their money by attempting to come illegally by boat to Australia."
The Government continues its work with regional partners to disrupt people smuggling ventures to prevent vulnerable men, women and children dying at sea.
"Australia's tough border protection measures remain in place and we are absolutely determined to make sure it stays that way."
Labor's abandonment of John Howard's proven border protection policy opened the doors to the people smugglers. The result – 50, 000 unauthorised arrivals on 800 boats, 1,200 deaths at sea, over 8,000 children into detention, 17 detention centres opened and an $11 billion border protection budget blowout.
In contrast, the Coalition has restored security at the border, integrity to our immigration program – and with it the trust of the Australian people. This Government has closed 17 detention centres, removed all the children from detention and increased the humanitarian program from 13,750 to 18,750 by 2018/19.
We are able to increase our annual refugee intake from 13,750 up to 18,750 by 2018/19 because we know we can support those additional numbers and, just as importantly, the community believes we can too.
We have been very conscious of the plight of Christians and other persecuted minorities caught in the bitter sectarian conflict in Syria and Iraq. And so we are also welcoming 12,000 refugees from the Syrian conflict zone focused on those persecuted minorities.
The reason Australians welcome high levels of immigration – the highest since the early post-war period – is that we have confidence that our government is in control of our immigration program, deciding who can come here and ensuring that when they do they receive the support needed to integrate into Australian society.
Further information: Minister's Office – 02 6277 7860