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Australia to create new border super agency: Minister

Published on May 9, 2014 3:36 PM

SYDNEY (AFP) - Australia on Friday announced a new frontline border protection agency merging operations from the customs and immigration departments to build on its success in stopping boatpeople and tackle the growing menace of transnational crime.

Immigration Minister Scott Morrison said the new Australian Border Force agency would be led by a high-powered civilian commissioner who would report directly to him and that it was based on models used by Britain and the United States.

Australia has adopted a hardline policy against asylum-seekers entering its waters on unauthorised boats, with its military-led Operation Sovereign Borders having prevented any new arrivals for more than four months.

Speaking ahead of the conservative government's first budget next week, Morrison said stopping the boats had created A$2.5 billion (S$2.9 billion) in savings, as he announced six more detention centres would be closed, in addition to four closures already announced.

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