Taxpayers to pay $54,000 for every refugee brought to Australia under Malaysian solution
Alison Rehn and Simon Benson
May 09, 2011 12:00AM
TAXPAYERS will fork out $54,000 for every refugee brought to Australia from Malaysia under the Government's plan to stop illegal boat arrivals.
But for every person arriving by boat who is rejected and sent the other way, they will have to cough up $90,000.
The $292 million so-called "Malaysian solution" will be part of an immigration blowout in tomorrow's Federal Budget, which the Opposition claims could top $800 million.
The Federal Government is facing another bill of hundreds of millions of dollars to pay in part for a 1000 per cent rise in the number of immigration staff to deal with boat arrivals in the past 18 months.
Figures supplied by the Department of Immigration and Citizenship reveal the number of processing staff in detention facilities has risen dramatically from 71 in June 2009, to a staggering 709 by January this year. That figure could now be as high as 840.
The department confirmed the increase was attributable to the rise in numbers of people arriving by boat.
The combined cost of the new Malaysian policy, increased staff numbers and the expansion of existing facilities could blow the immigration budget out by more than $800 million, the Opposition claimed yesterday.
"Labor's open borders and rolling detention crisis is consuming staff and resources at an insatiable rate, with taxpayers forced to write a blank cheque to underwrite the Government's failure," said Opposition immigration spokesman Scott Morrison.
The revelations came as the Gillard Government was forced to defend its new "Malaysian solution" policy from attacks from all quarters, despite having UN approval.
Up to 800 asylum seekers intercepted in Australian waters after the deal is finalised - expected within weeks - will be sent to Malaysian detention camps and put at the back of a queue now numbering more than 90,000.
In exchange, Australia will take 4000 refugees from Malaysia in four years and resettle them in the country.
The policy costs $292 million, which includes the cost of charter or commercial flights to and from Australia.
Mr Morrison said that worked out to $54,000 for every refugee accepted and $90,000 for every one rejected.
But Immigration Minister Chris Bowen said: "This is about breaking the people smuggler's business model.
"This now means that people smugglers will need to find 800 volunteers - pay their money, risk their lives, come to Australia with the prospect of a plane ticket to Malaysia and this makes the business model of people smugglers very, very difficult indeed."'
Asylum seekers who are sent to Malaysia and found to be refugees will not be resettled in Australia.
The Department of Immigration began telling communities here with links to asylum seekers to warn them they would end up in Malaysia.
Australian Council of Trade Unions /Get Up funded,Australian Labor Party/Green Loon/"Independent" minority Socialist government responsible for the latest assault / betrayal on the Australian people,seen here announcing their new TAX on EVERYTHING a few months ago.
Australian Labor Party’s Open Borders Policy working a treat for Middle Eastern Colonization of Australia. UPDATED
The Final Insult ? Sheik YerMami KRudd: we’re building mosques in Afghanistan