Strengthened Border Control Measures for Unauthorised Boat Arrivals

13 April 2006
Senator Amanda Vanstone
Media Centre

The Australian Government will introduce legislation as soon as possible to further strengthen border control measures in relation to unauthorised boat arrivals, Minister for Immigration and Multicultural Affairs, Senator Amanda Vanstone, announced today.

“Our migration laws have to be capable of effectively dealing with a broad range of circumstances, including unauthorised boat arrivals seeking asylum in Australia,” Senator Vanstone said.

The new measures will mean that all unauthorised boat arrivals will be transferred to offshore centres for assessment of their claims.

This effectively eliminates the distinction between unauthorised boat arrivals at an excised offshore place and those who reach the mainland. The changes will apply to all unauthorised boat arrivals regardless of their nationality.

“Australia’s approach to unauthorised arrivals will continue to reflect our commitment to our international protection obligations,” the Minister said.

“Any claims to refugee status will be properly assessed at an offshore location, as they have been in previous years.

“People found to be refugees will remain offshore until resettlement to a third country is arranged.”

The new legislation will apply to people arriving from today, the date of announcement. Any new boat arrivals can expect to be processed offshore.

“Unauthorised boat arrivals who have already applied for protection before today will not be affected by these changes,” the Minister said.

In addition, the Government will increase its capacity to patrol Australia’s northern waters to identify and locate any potential unauthorised arrivals. Further details will be announced by the Ministers for Defence and Justice and Customs.

“The new measures emphasise the Government’s strong commitment to effective border control while ensuring we continue to meet our international obligations,” the Minister said.

Minister’s Media Contact: 0417 445 886


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