Coalition plan will secure Northern border

Following recent illegal entries through the Torres Strait, northern Australians have become increasingly concerned about the security of our vast and porous northern borders.

Coalition spokesman for northern Australia, Senator the Hon Ian Macdonald, has moved to assuage the fears of northern Australians in the face of Labors diabolical record on illegal arrivals.

The Leader of the Opposition Tony Abbott has today announced the re-introduction of temporary protection visas, and a robust new assessment program, Senator Macdonald said.

Under this plan, no illegal entrant will be granted permanent residency, and only those who satisfy strict criteria for true refugee status will be provided a temporary protection visa.

The Coalition is committed to reducing the number of boats arriving per year back down to at least the Howard-era level of three boats per annum. We must ensure that the sovereignty of the Torres Strait and Queensland is protected with tough new action that will close off the shortest route to Australia from the rest of the world.

By contrast, under the failed policies of the Labor government, 270 boats have already arrived this year, he said.

If elected the Coalition will:

* Undertake a rapid audit of the refugee assessment process, drawing on current reviews, with the aim of removing access to the Refugee Review Tribunal and returning to single case officer reviews for those arriving by boat with failed claims, as practiced by the UNHCR.

* Establish a new fast track assessment and removal process based on the United Kingdom's Detained Fast Track system to have protection claims assessed, immigration status resolved and removals undertaken as quickly as possible.

* Establish specialist country based assessment cells within the Department of Immigration and Citizenship with country information used for refugee assessments continually updated and regularly vetted.

The cost, chaos and tragedy of Labors failed border protection strategy plays out every day right on the doorstep of northern Australia from Christmas Island to the Torres Strait.

Only a Coalition government can provide northern Australians with the certainty that the borders are being properly managed.

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