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Stop the boats – it’s cheaper to fly

By the numbers

Forget for a moment that asylum seekers are actually people with hopes and dreams just like us. Let’s focus purely on the numbers. Take your humanity out of the equation and let’s see if we can find a more cost effective way of dealing with asylum seekers.

The cost of detention

According to the Sydney Morning Herald the cost of keeping asylum seekers in detention has hit 1 billion dollars. The past financial year, Manus Island has cost taxpayers $632.3 million to “accomodate” 1060 asylum seekers ($596,500 per person). Nauru comes in slightly cheaper at $582.4 million for the 1167 asylum seekers ($499,000 per person). An average of $545,442 spent on each asylum seeker per year.

Let’s consider a best case scenario where the average cost of detention is lowered to $400,000 per person. Here’s what we could do with that money instead.


1) Buy asylum seekers a first class ticket to Melbourne ($5,000)

Stop the boats lets fly asylum seekers here test 2

2) Provide a chauffer driven stretch Limousine from the Airport to the CBD @$230 per hour ($700)


3) A bottle of Penfolds, 1959 Grange as a welcome gift ($4,850)

Penfolds Grange 1959


4) A new Commodore SV6 Storm on arrival ($40,839)


5) A year long stay at the Langham Hotel in the Grand Classic Room for $280 per night ($102,200)


6) Including daily buffet breakfast, $30 per day ($10,950)


7) Fuel to cover a years driving, $1.40 per litre. 15,530km @ 10L/100km ($2,174)

PETROL RELIEF: Petrol prices have fallen slightly following the opening of the new Coffs Harbour United Petroleum service station.


8) A sample of 365 different lunch venues across Melbourne @ $20 per day ($7,300)

Cheap, tasty, filling, food, restaurant, delicious, cheap meal deals, Melbourne, inexpensive, café, lunch, dinner, breakfast


9) A four course dinner each night ($120) at Melbourne’s newest 3 Hat restaurant, the ‘Flower Drum’ ($43,800)

Pickle selection


10) Front row seats to a weekly broadway show $200 ($10,400)


11) No dirty laundry with fresh underwear daily ($4000)


12) A years supply of bamboo socks ($2855)

Bamboo socks


13) A Mirrogram tee for every day of the year ($12,775)

Asylum seeker tees male and female


14) And a new pair of designer jeans each week ($285 x 52 = $14,820)


15) Footwear package from Armani. Includes; high tops, driving shoes, sneakers, heels, boots, business and casual shoes. ($3,710)

Armani shoes


16) Daily Vinyasa Yoga classes at Loving all of you holistic health ($16 x 365 = $5,840)

Loving all of you yoga


17) Weekly therapy sessions with private Psychologist ($150 x 52 = $7800)

Psychologist Listening


18) Weekly, private hour long golf lessons at the state of the art Golf Science Centre ($120 x 52 = $6,240)


19) Scholarship for full time study at the University of Melbourne ($35,912)


20) Why use a tap like a nobody when you can brush your teeth with bottled water? ($730)

thankyou water


21) And buy an iPhone to fit in skinny jeans right up to trackies ($4,000)


22) A Teacup Chihuahua ($4,000)

Tea Cup Chihuahua


23) And designer handbag for said Chihuahua ($6,440)…


Okay, we’ll stop short of buying a pet Chimpanzee and add up what we’ve spent so far (see table below).

Costs for hosting asylum seekers

With $62,655 left to spend it turns out we can afford that pet Chimpanzee after all!

Do what’s best for Australia (and you)

What’s more ridiculous than the above list is that we would actually SAVE money by welcoming asylum seekers to Australia in this way. Yes, SAVE money. The savings exceed $200,000 per person when you consider families of asylum seekers would share a hotel room (saving $102,200 per person) and a car (saving another $40,839 per person).

Replacing the current detention centres with these harsh measures provides an estimated tax saving of $445 million dollars. Roughly $25 for every tax payer in Australia.

One more tiny thing to consider

Stop and take a closer look.
Asylum seeker not just numbers female reflected

Asylum seekers are not just numbers, they’re people.

-Stop and Reflect-


10 thoughts on “Stop the boats – it’s cheaper to fly

  1. This is an absolutely brilliant way to highlight the absurdity of the cost of cruelty. If humanity doesn’t speak loudly enough to convince people that offshore detention is wrong, then maybe your explanation of the economics will. Great work!

  2. Michelle says:

    Cleverly pointing out how ridiculously expensive it is to treat these people like animals.
    Let refugees in and contribute to the fabric of our society.

  3. Fabia Claridge says:

    Please take a few minutes to look at look at these figures :

    When I added them up I was amazed and you should be too. Are they correct? Why does the media never put them together?

    From Channel 7 yesterday (that fountain of truth)

    Skilled work visa entrants 185,317
    Backpacker/holiday visas 130,874

    From DIBP
    !90,000 ‘normal’ migrants in 2014 ( say around 200,000 every year on average) These are business and family reunion applicants.
    In total, that’s 506,191 people each year, around half a million. This figure does not include overseas students.
    Yes some of these categories of people are temporary entrants, but many opt for pathways that can lead to settlement and PR.

    Meanwhile, Australia only takes around 13,000 humanitarian visa applicants every year. That is a tiny percentage of the overall intake.

    Then there are asylum seekers who have come here by boat, maybe around 50, 000 only. 90% of ‘boat people’ are found to be genuine refugees just like the Syrians. According to Abbott’s own words, 50, 000 people arrived by boat under Labor. Labor was in for 6 years. That was 8,333 only each year.

    That is half a million, 506,191 people welcomed to Australia each year compared to 8,333 in detention and on bridging visas not allowed to work, who are mistreated people each year. Many of them have skills that create employment for others.

    Why are we wasting AT LEAST $ 3 billion of our tax dollars locking them up? That is the figure I have been seeing lately. Some even say it has reached $5 billion. That money could be spent for them and us towards creating job training, education, great health care and adequate housing for us all.

    Logical conclusion: If you are really an economic emigrant or visitor you are welcome. If you come to save your life, you are not. And we will waste ANY amount of money to prove our stupid policy of deterrence is right. Because . . . .. . .
    – We need a scapegoat to distract us from the real agenda?
    – We are racist?
    – We don’t like to be wrong?
    – We are stupid?
    – Other?????
    Please comment.

  4. Pat says:

    Unfortunately, although this makes sense, most people in this country would not think this was good value for the refugee dollar, unless it was spent on themselves of course!
    The whole economics of immigration is up the creek. Let’s spent the money being wasted off-shore to set realistic welcome programs in this country. It can be done. If Lebanon can take 2 million, we can do better

  5. Mike Ryan says:

    This is a crazy waste of money, fuelled by Abbott’s divisive and hate filled crap about stopping the boats. If we we honest and efficient about processing refugees there would be no need for people smugglers. Nauru and Manus are concentration camps punishing the victims, not the criminals. The criminals are people smugglers, politicians, Transfield, Wilsons, Serco. The refugees are victims, deliberately humiliated and bullied by politicians, who are a disgrace, and are not acting in my name

  6. Marie Feigl says:

    Very clever in deed. I hope you’ve sent this to PM Mal. Of course, he’d say, that this would not stop the boats. He should be told that this is a NIMBY attitude, and that the boats have not been stopped, they’ve just gone some where else, and that, as a result, there have been more deaths at sea.

  7. Hettie Lynch says:

    A no brainer, isn’t it.

  8. Jennifer Magrath says:

    Just shows how absolutely rediculous it is keeping people in detention. Made even more rediculous by the time spent processing people, rejecting them, the people appealing etc. etc.

    On one small Greek Island (Symi) the refugees are rescued by the Coast Guard, brought to shore, where the Port Police take over. The residents of this small island (Expats and locals) have taken over the day to day feeding and clothing of men, women and children. They have set up a small distribution centre, with all volunteers, to distribute, clothes, water, medical assistance, they have already raised the money to install a shower and toilet, in a disused building in the port. Other volunteers have built sleeping platforms, so no baby or child has to sleep on the ground. These people are not behind bars, they are in the community. The port police work thru the night, at no extra pay, to process the refugees, generally within 24 hours they are on their way on one of the ferries to the mainland. I have travelled on the ferry with them. No police, no guards.
    It is estimated that to provide water and basic food to each refugee costs 2.50euro per day. The volunteer effort continues on all other Greek Islands, effected by the thousands of desperate people fleeing war and terror. They are not reviled, but helped, given care and hope. Greece is in very bad financial circumstances, as we all know, yet without exception, the refugees are cared for and processed quickly.

  9. Andrew - Mirrogram says:

    You know it’s ridiculous when you start feeling sick when trying to spend that much money!!

    Thanks for the feedback.

  10. Kerry Kelly says:

    This is a wonderful way to show the cost of cruelty.
    The 28,000 court in the system need the same Government help as those fleeing Syria.
    Some refugees who have fled brutal and repressive regimes have been waiting 5 yrs to get visas.

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