Saturday, 4 August 2012
Transporting double the expected influx of asylum seekers around Australia has cost taxpayers almost $70 million over 11 months.
The money was spent on buses, security escorts, facilities and charter flights, the Nine Network reported on Saturday.
The government had budgeted to deal with 450 arrivals per month this year but more than double the estimated number of asylum seekers have made it to Australia, taking the total number of arrivals until July to more than 6800.
Opposition immigration spokesman Scott Morrison told the Nine Network that these were "just the inevitable costs of when you get your border protection policies wrong".
Figures obtained by Nine showed that $33 million was spent on facilities at Christmas Island, $10 million on the Curtin detention centre, $17 million on charter flights, $14 million on facilities in Darwin and $10 million on police escorts.
Acting Prime Minister Wayne Swan said the current situation regarding asylum seekers cost money.
"When (Opposition Leader) Tony Abbott decides to put his wrecking ball through public policy, say no to a compromised solution, say no to offshore processing - that costs money," Mr Swan said.
But Mr Morrison put the blame squarely on the government.
"The Gillard government has turned our Department of Immigration into a travel agency," he said.
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