QUESTION: Medical help for asylum seekers

During Question Time, Mark asked the Minister for Health and Wellbeing whether he will again offer South Australia as a destination for asylum seekers who are repartirated to Australia for medical treatment as an alternative to sending them to Christmas Island.


The Hon. M.C. PARNELL: In federal parliament recently, new laws have been passed that will enable asylum seekers currently languishing on Nauru and Manus Island to be brought to Australia for urgent medical treatment. Apparently the federal government plans to send most of them to Christmas Island rather than to the mainland.

Last year, a number of asylum seeker children and their families were quietly brought to Adelaide from Nauru for medical treatment at the Women's and Children's Hospital. At the time the minister said that the government was pleased to be able to provide help. I understand that most of these families are still here.

I also note that since the last election the Premier has been continuously pushing for South Australia to take a greater proportion of overseas arrivals, including students and migrants.

My question of the minister is:

Will the minister again offer South Australia to the federal government as the destination for asylum seekers who are repatriated to Australia for medical treatment as an alternative to sending them to Christmas Island?

The Hon. S.G. WADE (Minister for Health and Wellbeing): As I indicated in my answer last year, the South Australian government, the Marshall Liberal government, was working with the commonwealth government and its agencies to provide medical support in South Australia. I will continue to do that.