Weekly media wrap - 7 April 2019

The federal budget, released this week, includes expenditure of $2.9 billion on immigration in 2019–20, of which around 65 per cent is to be spent on irregular migrants on and offshore.  

The key elements of the federal budget in relation to asylum policy have been reported as:

  • the repeal of Medevac legislation that allows doctors to recommend seriously ill asylum seekers and refugees be transferred from Nauru and Manus Island for medical treatment in Australia; 

  • the closure of Christmas Island Immigration Detention Centre, reopened in February at a cost of $180 million, from 1 July 2019; and 

  • the reduction of payments to asylum seekers in Australia under the Status Resolution Support Service (SRSS) from $139.8 million in 2017-18 to $52.6 million in 2019-20.

For more information on the federal budget, see reporting from the Parliament of AustraliaKaldor Centre and Refugee Council of Australia.

Currently the Christmas Island centre is staffed by 150 people with no asylum seekers or refugees transferred there. One person has been transferred under the Medevac legislation, but was sent to mainland Australia for medical care. 

Under the Australia–United States resettlement agreement, 508 refugees have been transferred from Nauru and Papua New Guinea, while 1868 people remain in the two countries.