Christmas Island to close again as PM protects borders
CHRISTMAS Island detention centre will be closed again by July if the government can repeal the controversial refugee medevac laws.
Spy agency ASIO and the Australian Federal Police will also get a $571 million funding injection as Scott Morrison prepares to fight the election on national security and border protection.
The government is planning to repeal the refugee medevac law before the election in May and close the detention centre by July 1, budget documents show.
Any sick asylum seekers on Christmas Island will be returned to Manus Island or Nauru.
But with just three sitting days left before Mr Morrison is likely to call the election - and a minority in the lower house - it's unlikely the government will be able to repeal the medevac laws.
There is no money in the budget for Christmas Island detention centre beyond 2020-2021.
Mr Morrison took the extraordinary step in February of announcing he would reopen the detention centre after Labor, the Greens and crossbench MPs used their numbers to pass the law.
He declared the centre was necessary to protect Australia's borders and warned the passage of medevac laws would restart the people smuggling trade.
The reopened centre was estimated to cost the budget about $1 billion.
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But just $178.9 million has been allocated to "manage the transfer" of asylum seekers from Nauru and Manus to Christmas Island for medical treatment.
Another $3.2 million will go to increasing the AFP presence on the island, and $3 million will go to boost a communications campaign to warn off potential people smugglers or asylum seekers.
Christmas Island detention centre has already cost $1.8 million this financial year alone.
With national security set to be a key election issue - particularly after the horrific murder of 50 people in the Christchurch massacre in New Zealand - ASIO and the AFP will get an extra $571 million.
Staff numbers will also increase for both agencies with ASIO set to get 107 extra people and the AFP to get 312 over the next financial year.
To counter violent extremism online, Home Affairs will also get $1.8 million of "digital engagement" initiatives.
A $27.2 million package to "foster belonging" for migrants will also be launched, which will include $12.6 million for community language schools.
An extra $680 million will also go to Defence to support Australian soldiers deployed overseas.
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But funding for Operation Okra - Australia's deployment in Iraq primarily to tackle Islamic State - will be cut back from $241.2 million in 2019-20 to just $3.9 million in 2020-21 and $19.6 million in 2021-22.
It's understood the AFP will get anti-drone technology as part of the funding amid concerns future terror attacks could involve drones.
The funding injection comes as authorities prepare for the possible release from prison of criminals convicted of planning terror attacks or returning foreign fighters.
A total $34.8 million will go towards countering foreign interference and $152 million will go towards disrupting or reducing the supply of illegal drugs such as ice.
The Christchurch attack has also prompted the government to allocated an extra $35.1 million for councils for projects to boost community safety, such as extra CCTV or street lighting.
That's on top of $55 million for security upgrades Mr Morrison announced after Christchurch for schools, churches or other groups concerned about racial or religious intolerance.
Australia will also host an international meeting of ministers on counter-terrorism financing in late 2019, with $1.8 million set aside for it in the budget.
Australia will also commit millions to its Pacific neighbours amid concerns about China's development push into the region, including $6.2 million over four years to boost Fiji's border security, building Fiji's Blackrock police training camp, and boosting security co-operation with Vanuatu and the Solomon Islands.