Wednesday 08 Apr 2020 | 22:08 | SYDNEY
Wednesday 08 Apr 2020 | 22:08 | SYDNEY

The cost of border protection


Alex Oliver


13 May 2009 18:14

So, another hard decision in the 2009 budget: $654 million over six years for 'border protection', AKA preventing illegal boat arrivals and protecting us from the 'vilest form of human life', people smugglers.

Only 711 people have arrived in Australia since September last year, according to a report by Paul Maley and Matthew Franklin in The Australian yesterday. That would work out at around 1,000 per year at the current rate. So we’re going to spend rougly $100 million per year on keeping them out, or $100,000 for each boat person.

Then we add the following (according to in the same article, which draws from answers to Senate Committee questions on notice):

When calculated over the October-February period, the numbers show authorities spent more than $5.3 million on the 141 people who were in detention as of February 28 -- or $38,000 a detainee'.

That total consists of charter flights, detention service providers, interpreters and immigration staff costs and allowances. That’s a grand total of around $140,000 for every boat person this year. A high price for 'protection'.