Scott Morrison will close the Christmas Island detention centre, after revelations the revival of the centre will not be needed.
Tuesday’s Federal Budget papers showed the Government planned to close the centre by July 1, despite announcing that the centre would reopen to prevent refugees from coming to the mainland.
In February, the Prime Minister announced that the centre would re-open at a cost of $1.4 billion, after Parliament passed laws allowing for the medical evacuation of refugees on Manus Island and Nauru.
“That was the recommendation of the Department of Home Affairs that this is what was necessary to address what occurred in the parliament by the Labor Party voting to weaken our borders,” Mr Morrison said.
“That was not our suggestion.”
Mr Morrison visited Christmas Island during March as the first sitting prime minister to do so, announcing that asylum seekers on Manus Island and Nauru that were considered a risk to Australia would be transferred to the island’s North West Point facility.
However, the Budget revealed the centre would be returned to a “contingency setting” while also allocating $150 million dollars this financial year and only $23 million in 2019-20 for regional processing on Christmas Island.
No other funding had been allocated for future years.
Finance Minister Mathias Corman said the decision had been made because the Coaltion had planned to rescind the medevac laws if won the federal election.
“Should we be successful we will reverse that legislation, which means we will be able to close Christmas Island again, as we have closed Christmas Island before,” Mr Corman said on Tuesday.