Australia remains committed to stamping out the criminal act of people smuggling and preventing deaths at sea.
Through Operation Sovereign Borders the Australia Government has implemented strong border protection measures to protect vulnerable people from risking their lives and ruining their family’s financial future.
Between 2008 and 2013 more 1200 people died at sea trying to reach Australia illegally.
Addressing a diaspora community event in Melbourne today, Commander of the Joint Agency Task Force OSB, Major General Bottrell said people should not believe the dreadful lies of people smugglers.
“Living and working in Australia will never be an option for anyone who attempts to travel here illegally by boat,” Major General Bottrell said.
“Anyone who engages a people smuggler will be turned back to the country they departed. The rules apply to everyone: men, women, children and families. There are no exceptions.”
Since turnbacks began in December 2013, there have been no known deaths at sea and more than 740 people from 29 people smuggling boats have been returned to their country of departure.
“We recently reinforced our on water capabilities to ensure that illegal people smuggling boats will not make it to Australia.”
As recently as last month, a group of Sri Lankan nationals attempted to travel illegally to Australia and were intercepted by Australian authorities and returned to Sri Lanka.
“Sadly, all they did was risk their lives and waste a considerable amount of their family’s money,” Major General Bottrell said.
Also attending today’s event was Australia’s Ambassador for People Smuggling and Human Trafficking, Mr Andrew Goledzinowski AM who works closely with Operation Sovereign Borders and said that Australia’s effort to combat people smuggling must continue.
“We know that there is a lot of misinformation being promoted by people smugglers and we want to ensure that people seeking to make Australia home go about it the right way”, Mr Goledzinowski said.
“The Australian Government is committed to managing a fair system of migration. Our successful border protection policies have ensured that the 2015-2016 humanitarian programme was the largest offshore program in more than 30 years.”
Andrew Goledzinowski, Australian Ambassador for People Smuggling and Human Trafficking (left) and Major General Andrew Bottrell, Commander Joint Agency Task Force Operation Sovereign Borders (right)
Major General Andrew Bottrell, Commander Joint Agency Task Force Operation Sovereign Borders
Andrew Goledzinowski, Australian Ambassador for People Smuggling and Human Trafficking
For more information on Operation Sovereign Borders please visit: www.australia.gov.au/novisa
For more information on Australia’s Refugee and Humanitarian Programme visit: http://www.border.gov.au/Trav/Refu