Monday, 22 July 2013

QLD Premier Newman: Blind spot on our border

  1. Is this article not amazing?

    See my entries in my main blog  YESTERDAY!! - espec the highlighted one....


    Blind spot on our border

    AUSTRALIA'S problem has now become Queensland's problem. That's the disappointing reality after the federal government announced the latest incarnation of its border protection policy.
    Labor's pledge to have no asylum-seeker settle in Australia will see thousands of refugees shipped to Papua New Guinea.
    The Prime Minister declared that he has stopped the people smugglers' business model. In fact, he has simply created a new one; a launching pad for a wave of additional ongoing immigration from PNG into Queensland.
    From PNG, access to Australia by asylum-seekers will now be easier than ever. It's a simple 4km boat ride, one regularly made in a canoe or tinny already.
    Immigration Minister Tony Burke says it's hysterical, but that is the sort of head-in-the-sand response that we've come to expect from federal Labor. It proves that nothing has changed.
    For Mr Burke's benefit, let me explain some simple facts.
    Right now, the taxpayers of Queensland are spending $10 million on average each year, treating PNG nationals who come across the Torres Strait into Queensland with diseases they cannot treat in PNG.
    In 2011-12 there were 2578 attendances for PNG patients to Primary Healthcare Clinics on islands in the Torres Strait.
    These services were provided to 977 individual PNG citizens.
    This alone proves the border between Papua New Guinea and Queensland is porous. Once asylum-seekers make the 4km trip from Western Province to Queensland it is a simple case of island hopping to Horn Island and catching a commercial flight to Cairns and beyond.
    Once on the Torres Strait Islands, in Australia, no passports or visas are necessary for them to board a plane. Within a matter of hours they can be in Brisbane, Sydney or Melbourne. This last leg of their journey would be no problem for asylum-seekers who've already travelled halfway around the world in a leaky boat.
    Tony Burke has chosen to ignore these facts, but he can't ignore a report from his own government in November 2010.
    The Torres Strait: Bridge and Border report released by the Defence Foreign Affairs Defence and Trade Reference Committee said: "There are literally thousands of Papua New Guineans residing illegally on the islands of the Torres Strait, particularly on Yam Island, Darnley Island, Badu Island and possibly York Island and Saibai."
    Reports at the time highlighted the lure of medical services, saying that many come legally but many more stay on illegally.
    The issue was identified many years earlier, in 2006. The ABC's Lateline program looked at the trade in drugs, guns and people over the Torres Strait.
    A PNG Defence Force intelligence service member confirmed people are being smuggled through Indonesia into Australia and the border had become a blind spot by governments of Papua New Guinea and Australia.
    Another Lateline report in 2009 said that Australia's only international border is under-policed and that people of various nationalities are able to cross it without detection.
    Clearly this has been an issue for some time and the problem will only get worse if there are thousands of people forced to settle in PNG, when their desire is to reach Australia.
    Violence has also been a concern on the islands of the Torres Strait. My government has already beefed up the policing presence there by employing up to 36 Torres Strait Island Police Support Officers, including $2.6 million of recurrent funding.
    It's in Queensland's interests to have a strong and stable Papua New Guinea. That's why we are willing to help with the policing and health problems there.
    I recently went to PNG and held discussions with Prime Minister Peter O'Neill. We identified these issues and Queensland committed to send up to 150 Queensland police to PNG, to support and mentor local officers. We will also provide technical support to build a hospital on Daru. We need to work together to fix the problems that previous governments ignored.
    We are concerned now at how these problems will escalate. Ultimately, we'll control what we can, but the bottom line is that border protection is a federal government responsibility.
    For this new policy to work we don't need sloganeering or a federal minister only interested in political cheap shots. We need an iron-clad assurance from the Prime Minister that he will strengthen border protection in the Torres Strait; that he will ensure that this new policy doesn't mean PNG becomes a jumping off point for a wave of immigration into Queensland.
    Without that assurance, this pre-election commitment is not only doomed to fail but will expose Queensland to a whole new series of security concerns for years to come.
    Campbell Newman is the Premier of Queensland.

    News for blind spot on our border

     Brisbane Times
    1. Blind spot on our border 
      The Australian ‎- 6 hours ago
      That's the disappointing reality after the federal government announced the latest incarnation of its border protection policy.

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