Country Liberals Senator for the Northern Territory Senator Nigel Scullion said his prediction that the recently opened Wickham Point detention centre could be full within a month have proven to be on the money, with the first 500 person compound almost full.
“420 asylum seekers are now being held at the Wickham Point facility and I warned back in early December that this new compound would only provide about a month’s relief given the number of boats that were arriving,” Senator Scullion said.
“Now just over a month later and sadly, I was right.
This has been a solution for literally a handful of weeks.
“The Gillard Government has failed to control our country’s borders and has rolled out the red carpet for people smugglers by adopting the Greens onshore processing policy.
“With all our detention centres filling up rapidly, the government has had to release asylum seekers into the community sending a clear message to the people smugglers that now is the time for them to cash in and sell the fact that once you get to Australia you will soon be free to roam in the community.
“They can open up the other two compounds at Wickham Point but it will again be a short-term solution.
“While this provides more capacity they will quickly fill because the boats just keep coming under Gillard’s new policy, as shown with another boat arrival earlier this week carrying 74 people.
“If a third of your capacity fills in a very short period of time, in a matter of weeks, we have got one of the most serious border control challenges this country has ever faced.
“This is indicative of a complete collapse of our borders and a complete lack of a real policy to deal with it.
“Offshore processing on Nauru, a return to temporary protection visas and turning the boats back around when it is safe and appropriate to do so will let the people smugglers know that Australia is again serious about stopping their illegal and vicious trade,” Senator Scullion said.
Media contact: Russel Guse 0438 685 645