Coalition slams boat arrival off West Australian coast

Christmas Island

A record 26 boats have arrived for the second consecutive month and more than 3300 people have arrived in June and July. Picture: Daniel Wilkins
Source: PerthNow

A BOAT arrival close to the Australian mainland off the West Australian coast highlights how much pressure the Border Protection Command is under, the Coalition says.

A government patrol boat intercepted a vessel carrying 15 passengers and two crew east of Browse Island off the Kimberley coast on Saturday.

The asylum seekers and crew were transferred to Broome initially and are being sent to the Darwin detention centre for security, health and identity checks.

Opposition border protection spokesman Michael Keen said the fact the boat arrived so close to the Australian mainland before it was intercepted was a problem.

The island is 160 kilometres north-west of the WA coast.

“With the resources at their disposal and relentless nature of illegal boat arrivals, it is increasingly difficult for our Border Protection forces to continue mopping up after Labor’s failed policies,” Mr Keenan said in a statement today.

Mr Keenan said a record 26 boats had now arrived for the second consecutive month and more than 3300 people had arrived in June and July.

“More than three-and-a-half times the number of people the government has budgeted for,” he said.

The Federal Government has set up an independent committee to consider the asylum seeker issue after it failed to win Coalition support for its Malaysia solution.

Coalition members oppose the option of sending people to Malaysia on the grounds it is not a signatory to the United Nations refugee convention, instead favouring a return to offshore processing in Nauru and other countries which have signed the convention.

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