Immigration and Border Protection

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January 14, 2019

Labor’s tripling of Australian Federal Police officers overseas will deter and disrupt people smuggling operations at their source.

These officers are critical in the fight against people smugglers, by preventing risky boat ventures before they start – stopping people drowning at sea.

The Liberals’ cuts and chaos mean they have slashed the number of officers to just four dedicated officers covering the entire region. This is putting our border protection framework at risk.

The effectiveness of these deterrence measures was confirmed by the outgoing Operation Sovereign Borders Commander, Air Vice-Marshal Stephen Osborne on 21 May 2018 when he said that “The first aim is to deter and disrupt the ventures from taking to the water in the first instance. That's a lot more effective; it has a lot less risk, particularly for the people who want to use the people smugglers, so that's always our preference.”

Labor has committed $8.5 million to establish an additional eight dedicated AFP officers throughout the region to support Australia’s neighbours and prevent people smuggling journeys.

Peter Dutton talks a big game on border protection, but cutting resources from programs designed to stop boat ventures before they start demonstrates the Liberals have little interest in putting people smugglers out of business.

Unlike the Liberals, Labor will not make cuts to border protection. Under Labor, Operation Sovereign Borders will be fully resourced, we will maintain Australia’s strong border protection measures and strengthen them even further with these new measures to stop people smugglers in their tracks.

The Liberals want to play politics with vulnerable people's lives – they prefer to lie about Labor’s strong policies on border protection and market the people smugglers' product for them.

The Government risked Australia’s border security by ordering the Australian Border Force Fleet to stop patrols to save money on fuel and cut frontline ABF staff at Australian airports over the Christmas period.

Labor will keep the people smugglers out of business and maintain Australia’s strong borders, ensuring they are never able to exploit the lives of vulnerable people again.

Labor is committed to strong borders, turnbacks when safe to do so, offshore processing and regional resettlement because we know it saves lives at sea.