In February 2013, the Department of Immigration and Citizenship estimated that the cost of mandatory detention would be $2.124 billion dollars, for the 2012 – 2013 financial year. These are the recurrent running costs. The capital costs are less, a mere $500 million to build detention facilities on Nauru and Manus Island. But it would appear that the Australian public can expect to pay somewhat over $2 billion year to run the detention centres for the foreseeable future.
As American politician Everett Dirksen said: “A billion here, a billion there, pretty soon, you’re talking real money.
It would be interesting to know if Joe “heavy lifting” Hockey has considered taking an economic rationalist approach to asylum seeker policy. Wouldn’t it be cheaper and easier to let these people come and live in Australia, get jobs, become productive members of our community, in other words to do all the things that they want to do. The great thing is, it won’t cost the Australian taxpayer anything near $2 billion a year.
If Hockey is serious about reducing the budget deficit, he should be looking seriously at ways of reducing expenditure on asylum seeker policy.