For release: December 16, 2010

New policy settings to discourage people smugglers and protect human life are urgently needed in the wake of the asylum seeker tragedy at Christmas Island yesterday, according to the Australian Christian Lobby.

Managing Director Jim Wallace said the upsurge in people risking their lives at the hands of people smugglers meant a greater deterrent was needed.

“A positive approach would be to boost the resources needed to more speedily process and resettle people in Australia once they have been verified as a refugee by the United Nations.

“Faster processing at UN facilities in places like Indonesia or Darfur are desperately needed to give people a viable alternative to risking their lives with people smugglers on the high seas,” Mr Wallace said.

The ACL extended its prayers and sympathy to the survivors and families of survivors of yesterday’s tragedy.