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Aussies locked out in Battle for Remote Beaches

Aussies locked out in Battle for Remote Beaches; No 'flag waving' matter

The Department of Immigration will lock Australian citizens out from beaches on Christmas Island as part of the Australian Governments $320 million mega detention centre under construction on the remote Australian outpost.

Australia Day 2006 will be the last day Aussies on Christmas Island will possibly have left to wave the flag and enjoy a bar b q on some of the best beaches on offer.

In a meeting between Christmas Island community representatives DIMIA announced that gates locking out the community from beaches, public recreation areas and vital tourist sites would be installed across roads.

'Community representatives at the meeting were particularly concerned that DIMIA had failed to raise the issue with the community and appeared to be totally uninterested in any adverse impact the gates would have on the community or tourist access to the area. The Department representatives were unmoved by community concern even though they acknowledged that no particular attempt had been made to make the community aware of their plans.' (page 8 'The Islander' issue no 346 December 2006 )

Christmas Island Shire President Gordon Thomson arrived back on the Island from leave this week amid the storm over the arrival of the 43 West Papuan refugees who were sent there last week and said, "Christmas Islanders do not want to be forced into any restrictive gulag lifestyle."

Perth based Refugee Advocate Mrs Kaye Bernard who has visited Christmas Island is calling on the Prime Minister and the Immigration Minister to visit the Island and get some first hand knowledge of the unAustralian impact offshore detention is having on Australian citizens who are incredibly now being locked out of beaches."

The Christmas Island Community intent to take the 'fight against DIMIA for the beaches' up with the Members of the Joint Standing Committee on the National Capital and External Territories who will be visiting next week and holding a public hearing on Christmas Island on Monday 30 January 2006.

Members tipped to come on the visit are: Senator Lightfoot (Chairperson), Senator Crossin, Senator Stott Despoja, Senator Carr Senator Joyce, House of Representatives members Causley, Seckerand Snowdon

The Federal Delegation terms of reference for the visit Inquiry

a) accountability and transparency of decision making in relation to the Indian Ocean Territories

b) the role of the Shire of Christmas Island and the Shire of Cocos (Keeling) Islands

c) aspirations of the residents of Christmas and Cocos Island for more representative governance arrangements

d) the link between more effective governance and improved economic sustainability for the Indian Ocean Territories

e) the operation of the Western Australian applied laws

f) community service delivery including the effectiveness of service delivery agreements with the Western Australian Government

g) proposals for reform of governance arrangements

ENDS

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