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Duttton says no NZ deal on Nauru

AAP logoAAP 15/09/2016

Immigration Minister Peter Dutton has ruled out any deal between Nauru and New Zealand to take refugees from Nauru.

Mr Dutton said Australia would not enter arrangements which allowed people smugglers to get back into the business of transporting asylum seekers to Australia for money.

"There has been no change," he said in an address to the Australian Strategic Policy Institute in Canberra.

Mr Dutton said the government was continuing negotiations with third countries to take those from Nauru and Manus Island.

"When we land something, it will be done in a very sophisticated way and we will talk about some of that publicly and other parts not," he said.

Mr Dutton's speech was briefly interrupted by a small group of protesters who waved placards and shouted "shame on you" and "close the camps." Police ushered them out without incident.

He said the government had made some tough calls. As of Thursday night, 740 people aboard 29 people smuggling vessels had been intercepted and returned to their country of departure.

"Had those boats made it through our ring of steel, hundreds of boats would have followed in their wake," he said.

The Immigration Department has been working through the legacy caseload of more than 30,000 asylum seekers, some arriving as far as back as 2012.

Mr Dutton said on the basis of processing so far, a third or more could be found not to be genuine refugees.

That could amount to 10,000 to 12,000 economic migrants who paid people smugglers to to bring them to Australia. Many would likely refuse to return to their home country, remaining a burden on the taxpayers.

"We remain engaged with several countries to alleviate these issues but negotiations will necessarily be protracted," he said.

Mr Dutton said the boats may have stopped but the hard truth was that Australia had been placed firmly and forever on the people smugglers' map.

He said there were 14,000 people in Indonesia who would board a boat for Australia if border protection policies were weakened and that would just be the start.

"Let me be clear. Anyone who attempts to come to Australia by boat will never settle here permanently. No-one on Manus Island or Nauru will ever be settled in Australia," he said

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