News National Boat arrivals at five-year low: Morrison

Boat arrivals at five-year low: Morrison

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Australian authorities have intercepted the first asylum-seeker boat of the year but the government isn’t counting it yet.

Immigration Minister Scott Morrison’s weekly statement, issued on Friday, says no illegal maritime arrivals were transferred to immigration authorities in the past week.

“The boats have not yet stopped, but they are stopping,” his statement says.

But an accompanying statement from Operation Sovereign Borders commander Lieutenant General Angus Campbell notes a boat was intercepted near Melville Island on Wednesday.

It is still under control of Border Protection Command, with those on board yet to be handed to immigration officials on Christmas Island.

Mr Morrison said boat arrivals from October to December were at the lowest level since 2008.

This is the second week in a row Mr Morrison has issued his report via email instead of holding a press conference.

Labor immigration spokesman Richard Marles said Mr Morrison was trying to hide the boats and offered a new year’s resolution for the minister: “Start being honest with the Australian people about what is happening on our borders.”