Don has plan for boat dilemma

AS Labor and the Coalition outlined their policies on boat people yesterday, Coffs Coast local Don Green was hatching his own plan.

The retired union secretary, who served in Papua New Guinea, believes there's a simple way to deal with the growing number of boat people arriving on our shores.

“Why not form a settlement for these people out near the Lake Argyle Dam in Western Australia?” Mr Green proposed.

“Rather than putting them on an island somewhere in detention centres, why don't we put them somewhere productive where they can grow crops, look after themselves and have a better life?

“We could have offices set up abroad that people can go and apply for a special permit to come across to the settlement – and if they don't comply once they get here, they can be deported immediately.”

The idea is certainly a left-fielder but Mr Green firmly believes it would be a win-win for solving one of the country's biggest human dilemmas.

He said his time serving in Papua New Guinea gave him empathy for people wanting a better life.

“We need to help these people.

“There's plenty of land out there and nothing being done with it, it's fertile and if you give them seeds, water and fertiliser, they can be self-sufficient and even contribute to the food industry,” he said.

Prime Minister Julia Gillard said yesterday she will relentlessly pursue her plan to set up a regional offshore refugee processing centre in East Timor.

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