Paige Taylor; 6/3/10
The Rudd government has commissioned a secret land audit on Christmas Island as it prepares for a detainee population predicted to reach 5000 within four years. The Weekend Australian understands the local shire has been asked to report back to Canberra on potential building sites on the tiny Australian territory as department officials brace for a continuing influx of asylum-seekers that some predict could increase the island’s population from about 3000 to more than 12,000 by 2014. The department wants to know where it can and should build houses for the increasing population of fly-in, fly-out immigration workers from the Australian mainland. Locals sources told The Weekend Australian that senior officials from the Department of Immigration and Citizenship have told them it is necessary to research and prepare early for the possibility that the number of irregular maritime arrivals on the island could blow out from 1809 yesterday to between 4000 and 5000 by 2014.