COMMONWEALTH FORCES STATES TO PAY FOR
ITS FAILED PEOPLE SMUGGLING POLICY
28 AUGUST 2013
NSW Attorney General and Minister for Justice Greg Smith SC has criticised the Federal Government for forcing the states and territories to bear the cost of its failure to stop people smuggling.
“It currently costs us as much as $60,900 a week to keep accused and convicted people smugglers in NSW jails – all just because the Commonwealth has failed to stop the tide,” Mr Smith said.
“The people of NSW have had to pick up the tab for running trials against people smugglers and keeping those convicted and awaiting trial in custody.”
States and territories raised the issue repeatedly with the Federal Labor government, most recently at the July conference of Corrective Services Ministers.
“The Labor Government has forced the states and territories to bear this unfair cost – a direct consequence of their failure to stop the boats.”
“It is estimated that states and territories have spent $75m in the past two decades accommodating people smuggler inmates in their jails – without receiving federal funding for it,” Mr Smith said.
Based on the numbers in custody and the average, all inclusive costs per inmate in NSW jails, and the costs of trials, it is estimated the failed Federal policy has costs NSW more than $15 million over the past three years.
Currently NSW Correctional Centres are housing 24 convicted people smugglers and 6 still awaiting trial.
“On top of the cost of being in prison, usually for at least three to five years, NSW has had to pay for the cost of trials, translators and special health needs.”