Coalition claim border policy success
ONCE-full onshore detention centres that held thousands of asylum seekers will be closed after five years of tough Coalition border protection policies.
Immigration Minister David Coleman will today reveal destroying people smuggling ventures has reduced the number of detainees in Australia from 10,000 to 1250.
The success of Operation Sovereign Borders and sending failed asylum seekers home has enabled the Government to this week close Melbourne's Maribyrnong Immigration Detention Centre.
The Blaxland compound at Villawood will be decommissioned within months.
It was to close earlier but extra building work is needed to detain high-risk detainees at other centres.
The Coalition has closed 19 onshore detention centres since winning government in 2013, which is projected to save taxpayers more than $550 million.
When John Howard lost in 2007, there were nine detention centres.
But a blowout of asylum seekers boarding boats forced Labor to open 17 detention centres. When Blaxland closes, just seven will be open.
In another trend the Government will trumpet, almost half of those held in detention in Australia have had their visas cancelled under bad character grounds. Many are New Zealand nationals.
Of the 427 illegal maritime arrivals still being held in onshore detention centres, some cannot be forced to return home because their country of origin will not take them and others are taking legal action to stay in Australia.
Mr Coleman will seize on the closure of the detention centres to reinforce Labor's record.
"At its peak in July 2013, there were more than 10,000 people held in immigration detention
facilities in Australia, including 2000 children,'' Mr Coleman told The Courier-Mail.
"Labor was forced to open 17 detention centres to deal with the catastrophic failures of
"This Government has stopped the boats, got the children out of detention, and closed the
once-full immigration detention facilities.
"These closures reflect the Government's ongoing success in maintaining strong borders.
"Labor's commitment to abolish Temporary Protection Visas and effectively end offshore
processing, two key pillars of Operation Sovereign Borders, will restart boat arrivals and
see a return to the chaos and tragedy that occurred between 2007 and 2013."
SOME OF THE CENTRES THAT WERE OPENED UNDER LABOR INCLUDE:
- December 2008: North West Point Immigration Detention Centre on Christmas Island. At its peak in November 2010, more than 2000 people were detained. By October 2018, all immigration detention facilities on Christmas Island were placed into contingency by the Coalition (this means they can be reopened at short notice if required).
- June 2010: Curtin Immigration Centre in WA. At its peak, in July 2013, 1687 people were detained, including 110 children. The Coalition closed Curtin in November 2014.
- October 2010: Scherger Immigration Detention Centre in Queensland. At its peak in July 2013, 638 people were detained. The Coalition closed Scherger in February 2014.
- September 2011: Pontville Immigration Detention Centre in Tasmania. At its peak in December 2011, 381 people were detained. The Coalition closed Pontville in February 2014.
- December 2011: Wickham Point Immigration Detention Centre in the Northern Territory. At its peak, in May 2013, 1988 people were detained, including more than 400 children. The Coalition closed Wickham Point in November 2016.