The Co$ts of Cruelty: What Australia’s Refugee Policies Cost You

A new study by Save the Children, Australia and UNICEF has shown that billions of our tax dollars are spent to maintain Australia’s refugee policies (see the report here). A fraction of the vast sums involved could, if directed away from the current policy of deterrence, create much better conditions for asylum seekers and provide permanent resettlement solutions for refugees. Moreover, these funds could be used on health, education and other areas to improve the lives of ordinary people in Australia.

In Canberra on Thursday, the reports’ authors Lisa Button and Shane Evans from Save the Children will present the human, economic and strategic costs of the policies. Ms Button said today that the report uncovered the true cost of Australia’s asylum seeker policies:

“The report reveals how Australia’s deterrent immigration approach is not only extremely expensive but has also taken a heavy toll on children and their families. Australia’s policies expose them to a wide range of dangers and hardships while in our immigration processing system, including on Nauru.

“We are sometimes placing them in danger and at risk of persecution, discrimination and suffering by returning them to countries from which they have fled or to transit countries. 

“Australia’s policies set a very dangerous global precedent and also severelycompromise some of our broader strategic interests both regionally and globally.” 

For media inquiries, please contact RAC spokesperson Dr John Minns on 0407 483 952.

Shane Evans is Save the Children’s Senior Economist, based in Canberra and author of the economic cost analysis in the joint Save the Children/UNICEF At What Cost? report. Shane has a PhD in economics and worked for a number of years as an economist within AusAID, DFAT, the Department of Innovation, Industry and Science and the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet, as well as as an academic at the ANU and the University of Tasmania.

Lisa Button is Save the Children’s Refugee and Asylum Seeker Policy and Advocacy Advisor, based in Melbourne and the principal author of the joint Save the Children/UNICEF At What Cost? report. Prior to joining Save the Children, Lisa worked as a human rights lawyer and migration agent and asylum seeker advocate. She holds a Masters in Public and International Law from the University of Melbourne.