Detainee deluge - thousands of boat people to invade NSW

THE state government is planning for several thousand boat arrivals to be released into the community following the collapse of the Gillard government's Malaysia Solution.
And it has warned that education, housing and child- welfare agencies may not have the necessary resources to accommodate them.
A confidential internal state government briefing note has forecast that more than 40 per cent of asylum seekers who are released into the community would end up "congregating" in Sydney's suburbs.
The briefing note, obtained by The Daily Telegraph, was provided to a crisis meeting of NSW agency heads late yesterday to determine a government response to the effective end to mandatory detention for all but the most disputed cases. It follows a meeting between Department of Immigration officials and NSW Department of Premier and Cabinet on Monday.
The briefing note claimed that the Immigration Department warned arrivals would soon "escalate" when word spread that asylum seekers arriving by boat would no longer be held in detention.
"Although the Commonwealth will locate the IMAs (irregular maritime arrivals) across Australia, since they have freedom of movement, there is a high likelihood that they will congregate to the locations where there is a concentration of people of the same nationality, which in most instances is Sydney," the Immigration Department briefing note said.
"Based on 2006 Census data, the expectation is that about 46 per cent (or 2235) of the current IMAs in detention will locate in Sydney."
"In addition, the 4882 IMAs are only those currently in detention. Once it is widely known that IMAs will live in the community while being processed, the level of entries into Australia (is) very likely to escalate."
The official Commonwealth figures differ from the NSW assumptions - with 3800 people said to be currently held in detention centres and 1300 in community detention across the country.
Immigration Minister Chris Bowen yesterday announced the first 27 of at least 100 bridging visas a month to be issued, allowing the gradual release into the community subject to ASIO checks.
A senior state government source confirmed that the internal briefing note had been drafted following the meeting with the federal government earlier this week.
"There will be implications in areas of crisis accommodation, affordable housing, welfare (there [is] a high number of unaccompanied children), policing, health, and education," the note said.
"As the Commonwealth will not be providing any social security payments to the IMAs, the financial burden for supporting the IMAs will, in the main under the Commonwealth's policy, fall on the states and in particular NSW," it said.
However, the federal government last night disputed the claims by the state government. A spokesman for Mr Bowen said: "NSW - like the other states - was explicitly told that people will go where there is available housing."
Opposition immigration spokesman Scott Morrison said: "Rather than deal with their border protection policy failures, Labor are now going to export the chaos they have created in our detention centres into our community".(


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