Labor’s tougher message on boat arrivals is getting through in Indonesia with people seeking their money back from smugglers, Immigration Minister Tony Burke says.
He says he’s received reports from Indonesia that there are widespread demands from potential asylum seekers wanting their money back from people smugglers.
Mr Burke says they are realising they would be buying a ticket to Papua New Guinea or Nauru not to Australia.
“When I say the demands for money back are widespread, they are absolutely widespread,” Mr Burke told reporters in Sydney.
“They realise that what they have paid for is no longer available to them.”
“There is no doubt that the message is getting through.”
Mr Burke said the only way to stop people smugglers was to take their product and customers away, and that was starting to happen.
He also said a “very significant number” of people who had been transferred to PNG’s Manus Island were now in talks with internationals organisation of migration organising their transfers back home.
He said that could be done fairly quickly if they still had their identity documents with them.
Mr Burke said whatever capacity is needed to house asylum seekers would be built under the federal government’s asylum seeker resettlement deal with PNG.
He said refugees would be looked after and given resettlement opportunities to get on with their lives.
If they have been found not to be refugees it was probably a fair indication that it was safe for them to go home, he said.
Labor’s policy says people who arrive in Australia by boat without a visa will not be settled in Australia.