Thursday, July 15, 2010

A Regional Refugee Processing Centre in...?

For the past fortnight public discourse in Australia has been dominated by the location of a potential regional processing centre for refugees. The Federal Government proposed Timor-Leste as their preferred location (a somewhat surprising move, least of all to the Timorese Government); the Opposition has promoted Nauru, home of the Howard Government's Pacific Solution.

But I would like to propose a third location for a regional processing centre: Canberra.

As one of the G20 nations, Australia is uniquely placed within our region to host a facility like this, much more so than either Timor-Leste or Nauru. Canberra is also an attractive location because of the Federal Government's executive power in the ACT.

Building a regional processing centre in Canberra would make an excellent contribution to other Government policies. Particularly what I have in mind is the Nation Building program that is currently underway. Canberra's refugee centre would clearly fulfill the goal of the economic stimulus plan: boost local infrastructure and support jobs. This is a win for Australia and the Federal Government. By building in Canberra, we would be supporting the local economy and saving "Aussie jobs" from being moved overseas.

And as a temporary site until the centre is constructed, the Government could use The Lodge. I've heard that's going to be empty until after the next election...


Jonathan said...

Exactly what I was thinking!

Mike W said...

Good thinking Matt.
It will act as a superb deterrent to people smuggling too.

But really, you're right, offshore processing is crazy

Anonymous said...

It also has the advantage that being only a mere territory the government can excise it from the national migration zone! Leaving asylum seekers with as few rights as they currently have on Christmas Island or would have overseas!

Brilliant, Matt you should work in government!

Matthew Moffitt said...

Did I forget to say that??? Doh, that was going to be one of my points.