Australian gov't spends $45.6 mln on Christmas Island infrastructure

15:43, December 15, 2009      

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Australian Home Affairs Minister Brendan O'Connor revealed on Tuesday the federal government will spend 50 million Australian dollars (45.6 million U.S dollars) on infrastructure at Christmas Island to keep up with growing demand for services such as power, water and improved roads as the detention center grows.

Immigration Minister Chris Evans flagged the infrastructure boost in late October when he announced the capacity of the Christmas Island Immigration Detention Center would be increased to at least 2,000 beds to cope with an influx of boat arrivals.

The 50 million Australian dollars (45.6 million U.S dollars) infrastructure package including extra health, policing and education resources to service the local community and immigration detainees would help create an economically, environmentally and culturally sustainable future for the island.

"This expansion will not only address current needs but will support the economic future of Christmas Island," O'Connor said.

The funding will be distributed over a three year period from 2009.

It will be directed toward expanding a wastewater treatment plant to keep up with increased demand, an upgrade to the power station, extra health workers and teachers.

Funding will be allocated for a feasibility study into the lengthening of the wharf at Flying Fish Cove and a feasibility study into sealing the road to North West Point where the detention center is located.

The road leading to the detention center on the isolated corner of the island is now unsealed and potholed.

An 11.3 million Australian dollar (10.3 million U.S. dollar) fibre optic solution will be used to connect the seven key government agencies located on the island, including the Department of Immigration and the Australian Federal Police. 

Source: Xinhua
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