A message from Andrew Goledzinowski, Australian Ambassador for People Smuggling Issues and Human Trafficking

In June 2017 Australians from all walks of life came together to celebrate Refugee Week and the contributions made to Australian society by people who came here as refugees.

Australia has a long and proud tradition of welcoming and successfully resettling refugees.

Since the end of World War II Australia has resettled more than 865,000 refugees from all over the world. Along with the United States and Canada, Australia has consistently ranked as one of the world’s top three providers of permanent resettlement places for refugees.

In celebrating Australia’s history of refugee resettlement, it is important to acknowledge the role that strong borders play in supporting our generous humanitarian programme.

Secure borders generate public confidence that the Government can manage migration in a way that mitigates risks and focuses humanitarian assistance on those who need it most.

Without this confidence, the Australian Government would not have been able to commit to an increase to Australia’s yearly humanitarian programme, which will rise to 18,750 places in the 2018-19 financial year.

Control of our borders has also enabled the Government to welcome 12,000 additional Syrian and Iraqi refugees on top of our annual intake.

It has now been more than three years since a people smuggling boat reached Australia, and most importantly, more than three years since anyone drowned at sea as a result of people smuggling. This record is a direct result of Australia’s tough border protection policies.

Unfortunately, we know that people smugglers will continue trying to rip off vulnerable people with false promises of settlement in Australia. In reality, anyone who attempts to reach Australia illegally by boat will be stopped and either turned back or returned to their home country. The illegal maritime pathway to Australia is closed, and it will stay closed.

The Australian Government’s border protection policies are saving lives and stamping out people smuggling, while also creating the conditions necessary for Australia to offer resettlement and a new life to many thousands of deserving refugees every year.