Federal Member for Leichhardt Warren Entsch has responded to the latest boat load of asylum seekers being intercepted off the coast of WA today.
HMAS Larrakia picked up a boat carrying more than 100 people north of Christmas Island this morning bringing the number of asylum seekers to well over 5,500 who have been picked up in Australian waters this year.
“This is more boat arrivals than we have had on record. At this rate the Weipa Detention Centre at the RAAF Base Scherger which was only meant to house 300 men temporarily, will house triple the numbers of people in no time,
“Dumping detention centres in our backyards unannounced is not the way to handle this issue. The Gillard Government must make amendments to its policy or the problem will just continue to grow,
“Julia Gillard needs to admit there is an issue and stop side stepping it. The current influx of boat people is out of control and real action needs to be taken. How many detention centres is the Labor Government going to create to house these people before they realise we have a problem,” Warren Entsch said.
Warren Entsch says that the Weipa community was not given a choice about the detention centre being dumped in their community, but at the very least to minimise the discontent over it they deserve the economic benefit.
“I wrote to the Immigration Department this week and expressed my views that all contracts associated with the services for the detention centre need to be awarded to local providers. I met with businesses in Weipa recently and they say they are well placed to support the centre. It is not acceptable for outsiders to be given the economic boost from this,” Mr Entsch said.
Mr Entsch says to rectify the problem and stop the influx, the people smugglers need to be stopped in their tracks. Under the Howard Government very few boats arrived on our shores. The latest arrival is the 120th boat to arrive for the year.