Government to close Christmas Island mere months after reopening it

Government to close Christmas Island mere months after reopening it

Less than four months after reopening Christmas Island detention centre, the Government has announced it will close the facility.

The centre’s reopening was a $185 million knee-jerk reaction to the passing of the Medevac bill, which gives doctors a greater say in refugee medical transfers to Australia from Manus and Nauru, but ultimately leaves the decision to transfer in the hands of government.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison said the legislation would encourage people smuggling and lead to an influx of boats, and reopened Christmas Island to ensure transferees never reached the Australian mainland.

The 2019 Budget noted that the Government intends to repeal Medevac if it wins a majority at the upcoming general election.

Finance Minister Mathias Cormann said the Coalition would reverse the “reckless” legislation to stop as many asylum seekers being able to access a medical transfer.

However, two-party preferred polls are indicating a tight election, meaning the likelihood of a majority is slim.

Since Medevac was passed, no asylum seekers or refugees have received medical transfers.

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