Australia's Pacific asylum-seeker camps to cost $2.25 billion
SYDNEY (AFP) - Australia's policy of sending asylum-seekers offshore to camps in Papua New Guinea (PNG) and Nauru will weigh on the budget and cost A$2 billion (S$2.25 billion) over four years, officials said on Tuesday.
In releasing a mid-year economic outlook, Treasurer Joe Hockey said there were several issues left over by the previous Labor administration, including a A$1.2 billion shortfall in funding for offshore processing.
Canberra began sending asylum-seekers who arrived by boat to PNG's Manus Island and Nauru in late 2012, and in July hardened the policy to ensure that all arrivals would not only be processed but resettled offshore.
Conservative Prime Minister Tony Abbott's new government has kept the policy but revealed Tuesday it was facing at least four more years of budget deficit as the economy struggles with the end of a long boom in mining investment.