18 Dec 2012

Australian govt to divert foreign aid to asylum seekers

9:09 am on 18 December 2012

The Australian government has confirmed it is planning to divert $A375 million from foreign aid programmes to fund costs associated with asylum seekers on the Australian mainland.

Foreign Affairs Minister Bob Carr said the money from the foreign aid budget will be used to pay for food and other costs for asylum seekers being processed in Australia.

He said the Government gives aid to refugee camps in Africa and there is no reason some of that should not be spent on asylum seekers in Australia.

"Spending money on refugees who've landed on Australian soil is as valid as spending it on refugees who are in refugee camps around the world," he said.

Senator Carr said the same thing happens in the United States, Canada, France and Sweden.

The ABC reports the Coalition said the decision showed the Government's pledge for a seat on the UN Security Council was not genuine.

Opposition immigration spokesman Scott Morrison said the Government had been caught out using foreign aid to prop up expensive asylum seeker policies.