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Australia to Give Weekly Briefings on Asylum Seeker Arrivals

Sept. 22 (Bloomberg) -- Australia will give weekly media briefings on the arrival of asylum seekers by boats as the government seeks to curb the number of vessels coming to the country, according to the Australian newspaper.

The briefings will be held by Immigration Minister Scott Morrison and Angus Campbell, deputy Army chief, and will begin tomorrow, the newspaper said on its website. Under the former Labor government, the Australian Customs and Border Protection Service informed the media every time an asylum-seeker boat was intercepted in Australian waters, according to Sky News.

Prime Minister Tony Abbott’s coalition won 90 seats in the 150-member lower house to Labor’s 55 in the Sept. 7 election. In his victory speech, Abbott pledged to scrap former Prime Minister Julia Gillard’s carbon-price system in his first term, put the federal budget on track to a surplus, increase investment in roads and stop asylum seekers arriving by boat.

“There will be regular, continuous, full disclosure,” Environment Minister Greg Hunt said in an interview on Sky News today.

The government will also provide monthly updates on detention and statistics on bridging visas for asylum seekers who arrive by boat, according to the Australian. The switch to a weekly briefing denies people smugglers the opportunity to exploit information about arrivals, the newspaper reported, citing Morrison.

To contact the reporter on this story: Phoebe Sedgman in Melbourne at psedgman2@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Jim McDonald at jmcdonald8@bloomberg.net

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