8 Mar 2010

Two more asylum seeker boats arrive in two days

5:22 pm on 8 March 2010

Two more boats of asylum seekers have been intercepted off the north west coast of Australia in the past two days.

A boat carrying 28 passengers and two crew was stopped north-west of Adele Island, early on Sunday.

Another boat carrying 80 passengers and three crew was intercepted on Saturday.

Both boats are being taken to detention facilities on Christmas Island.

Twenty boats have arrived so far this year.

Federal opposition spokesman for Immigration and Citizenship, Scott Morrison, says more than 4000 people have arrived illegally on boats since the Rudd government changed its border protection policies.

No secret plans for expansion - PM

Earlier, Prime Minister Kevin Rudd said there are no secret plans to increase the number of people that can be housed on Christmas Island.

The Australian newspaper reported on Saturday that the Government has begun a secret audit of the island after predicting the detainee population will rise to 5000 in four years.

Mr Rudd said the report is incorrect. He says around 2040 people can currently be accommodated there.

Work is underway on an additional 400 beds in the main detention centre to expand the capacity to about 2300 people. Beyond that, he says no other plans exist.

The Opposition says the report shows the federal government's immigration policy has failed.

Christmas Island is used to process asylum seekers who arrive illegally by sea.

The ABC reports Immigration Minister Chris Evans has held talks with the shire on securing land to house more staff at the detention centre.