Sunday, 09 September 2018
Media release

Operation Sovereign Borders reinforced

Australia’s maritime surveillance and response capabilities have been reinforced with expanded aerial surveillance and on-water patrols.

Assets from the Australian Border Force and additional resources from the Royal Australian Navy and Royal Australian Air Force have been mobilised to identify and intercept any suspicious vessel that approaches Australia’s borders.

The Minister for Home Affairs Peter Dutton said the measures would further secure all maritime approaches to Australia.

“The arrival of a people smuggling boat from Vietnam in late August is a reminder that the threat of people smuggling hasn’t gone away.

“All 17 of the individuals who arrived on this venture have been returned to Vietnam.

“Under Labor’s policy it would have been impossible to send these people back to their country of origin. It would have been a green light and other boats would surely have followed.

“This should be a wakeup call that Labor can never manage our borders effectively,” Mr Dutton said.

Since Operation Sovereign Border was stood up in 2013, it has been incredibly successful in detecting, intercepting and deterring people smuggling ventures.
Thirty three vessels have been intercepted at sea, 827 people returned to their country of departure or origin and countless others deterred or prevented from risking their lives on an illegal boat journey to Australia.

While this people smuggling venture failed, people smugglers are nevertheless likely to use the arrival of this group on Australian soil as a marketing tool to persuade others to attempt an illegal boat journey to Australia.

To reinforce the security of our borders, Australia’s offshore people smuggling disruption efforts, led by the Australian Federal Police, have also been strengthened.

All these actions should send a strong message to people smugglers and those who would engage their services: the Australian Government’s determination to protect our borders, combat people smuggling and prevent deaths at sea, is stronger than ever.

The Australian Government will not tolerate a return to past circumstances under which more than 1200 people died at sea attempting illegal journeys to Australia on unseaworthy

Australia’s border protection policy is clear – and this reinforcement of Operation Sovereign Borders shows – Australia will back up its words with decisive actions.