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False surplus delivered as immigration costs kept hidden

The huge cost of the Gillard Government’s offshore detention policy, which remains a mystery because of the deliberate obfuscation of the total expense, hasn’t been solved in today’s MYEFO announcement according to the Australian Greens.

 “Despite the Government admitting to a $1.2 billion blowout in the cost of implementing their immigration policy, the actual expense to the Australian tax payer remains a mystery,” Greens immigration spokesperson, Senator Sarah Hanson-Young said.

 "The contracts to run the detention camps still haven't been completed and a budget surplus means nothing when we haven’t even been told how much it is going to cost to detain people offshore on Nauru and Manus Island.

 "Indefinite offshore processing is setting taxpayers up to fund an infinite black hole, costing billions of dollars in the forward estimates, while resettling refugees directly from Indonesia and Malaysia incurs just a fraction of the cost of detaining them offshore.

 “Immigration has helped to make Australia the country that it is today and it is clear that raising the cost of skilled migrant and marriage visas is not the way to go about curbing our nation’s debt.

 “The threat of detention on Nauru and Manus Island is failing to deter people from seeking asylum and, as we’ve long been saying, the only way to reduce the number of people arriving by boat is to offer them safer pathways to Australia.

 “The experts and the Greens agree that putting a budget surplus ahead of all other considerations is poor economic management, but we have seen on many occasions that this Government is happy to ignore expert advice when it’s engaged in political point scoring.”

 Media Contact: Noah Schultz-Byard 0427 604 760

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