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Political & civils rights advocate, animal lover & state co-ordinator for the Australian Federation Party

THE cost of supporting more than 40,000 asylum seekers expected to be in Australia next financial year is set to average more than $70,000 for each arrival, plus support services.

A new break-down of costs this year show taxpayers have spent $1.5 billion maintaining the detention network amid record arrivals which are approaching 22,500 this financial year, reported news limited.

Supporting almost 13,000 asylum seekers in the community whose asylum claims haven't been processed has cost $265 million for just 10 months.

The cost includes $131 million to support asylum seekers on Bridging Visas who are prevented from working and who are also paid equivalent welfare payments each fortnight.

“It is not just a simple issue of immigration, it is about a fair go and equity”

Renting homes and furnishing them has cost $18 million this financial year. Parliamentary budget Estimates committee this week also show charities are accepting hundreds of millions of dollars to care for asylum seekers.

Red Cross has been paid over $603 million for 26 months' work helping asylum seekers in the Australian community and almost $75 million has been given to the Salvation Army for welfare and support services in Nauru and Manus Island and $8 million has gone to Save the Children.

By July there is expected to be almost 27,000 asylum seekers in the system with 13,200 expected to arrive in the 2013-14 financial year alone, if measures to address the issue remain on the back burner.

The asylum budget of almost $2.9 billion next financial year works out an average of just over $71,000 per person for a year based on just over 40,000 expected to be at various stages of having their claims processed, the advertiser reported today.

It comes as new figures show people from 33 countries have come to Australia by boat this year, including an unprecedented flow from Africa, 270 Sudanese and Somali have arrived along with people from Ethiopia, Eritrea, Gambia, Congo, Mali and Algeria.

The issue of illegal immigration in the most has been used as a political tool, compassion is lacking and the system is obviously broken, says Mark Aldridge Independent for Wakefield.

“We have a obligation to help those in need, but that must include struggling Australian’s as a primary concern.”

Border security should never become that watered down that we appear to have an open policy and infrastructure and essential services must take their place in this long overdue debate.

We must all demand answers from our political candidates, especially with a federal election only months away, “so many are struggling to make ends meet” as it is, so this problem affects every one of us.

Mark M Aldridge

Independent Federal Candidate for Wakefield