Report calls for end to 'stop the boats' approach

AN END to mandatory detention of asylum seekers, expansion of Australia's refugee resettlement program and other initiatives are essential to forming a long-term solution to people smuggling, a landmark report has urged.

The report, which evolved from private talks at a high-level asylum seeker policy meeting in July, was released by the Centre for Policy Development in Canberra on Wednesday.

It included input from some of Australia's refugee experts including lawyer Julian Burnside, former Immigration Minster Ian MacPhee, expert panel member Paris Aristotle and former Defence Force chief Admiral Chris Barrie.

The report has urged an end to the current "bipartisan" approach to asylum seeker policies which aim only to "stop the boats".

It also called for refugees to be treated well, at the same time as limiting people smuggling into Australia.

The report urged the Abbott government to increase the refugee intake by 15% and end mandatory detention at Nauru and Manus Island, except for brief health checks, for incoming refugees.

But it also called for an end to the military-led "operation sovereign borders", which has been central to the government's agenda of "stopping the boats".

The report has also urged to find new ways to safely and fairly resettle the 2300-odd asylum seekers being held in offshore detention centres, and improve resettlement plans for the 33,000 refugees in onshore centres.

- APN NEWSDESK



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