The controversial cost of offshore processing needs to be recognised for what it is; billions of dollars spent to needlessly punish vulnerable people in an attempt to make a political point, the Greens said today.
“Labor and Liberals’ race to the bottom is costing billions of dollars,” the Greens’ immigration spokesperson, Senator Sarah Hanson-Young said.
“Shutting down these expensive and cruel camps and having time limits on detention would save the Australian tax payer billions.
“As was predicted, the Nauru and Manus Island detention centres are not working as a deterrent and the cost of operating these island prisons continues to spiral out of control.
“There is a fundamental separation between the Government’s immigration policy and the real world which is costing refugees their physical and mental health while costing Australian tax payer billions of dollars.
“Having refugees in the community while their claims for asylum are processed, rather than locking them up for years on end, is the answer but it requires strong political leadership.
“We need to stop people from seeing risky boat journeys as their only option when fleeing from persecution, and it is clear that offshore processing hasn’t done that.
“If the Government was serious about saving lives at sea it would be offering significantly increased numbers of people in Indonesia and Malaysia safer pathways to resettlement in Australia.”
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