Reports of asylum boat landing in remote Western Australian community

Locals say the men, believed to be from Pakistan, are in good health.

Locals say the men, believed to be from Pakistan, are in good health. Photo: ABC News

Australian border authorities are in a remote Indigenous community in Western Australia amid reports that some 30 people have arrived illegally by boat.

Residents of Beagle Bay, a small community on the north-west coast of WA, have reported the men – believed to be from Pakistan – were in the settlement’s main street after being found on a beach Friday morning.

The ABC reported the men, wearing t-shirts and trousers, were in good health and had been given water at the local store.

One Beagle Bay resident, who gave his name as Adrian, told the ABC he saw the men standing under shade in the township’s main street.

“They were well-dressed, pretty fit, wearing jeans and shirts,” he said.

“They’re in a park opposite the shop – it’s created a bit of fuss. There’s a crowd gathered to watch them,” Adrian said.


Witnesses say the men were discovered on a beach near Beagle Bay. Photo: Google Maps

Prime Minister Anthony Albanese said was asked about the reported arrival at an unrelated media conference, but said he had no information to share.

“I’ve been travelling in the car, so I haven’t been advised about that,” Albanese said.

“But our policies are clear, which is that boats that arrive in that fashion … we have policies in place that ensure they are dealt with.”

One arrival told the ABC in Beagle Bay he was from Pakistan and had lived in Australia before his visa was declined and he was deported.

The man was quoted as saying he was arrested and tortured when he returned to Pakistan, where his wife and five children live.

He said the group arrived in Australia after a five-day voyage by boat from Indonesia, then walked for an estimated 35 kilometres before being discovered by locals.

The Australian Border Force said in a statement that the only way to travel to Australia was legally with a visa.

“Australia’s tough border protection policies means no one who travels unauthorised by boat will ever be allowed to settle permanently in Australia,” it said.

“Australia remains committed to protecting its borders, stamping out people smuggling and preventing vulnerable people from risking their lives on futile journeys.

“The people smuggling business model is built on the exploitation of information and selling lies to vulnerable people who will give up everything to risk their lives at sea.”

Henry Augustine, chair of the Beagle Bay Futures Indigenous Corporation, told the ABC said he believed the men may have landed overnight.

“I heard around midnight they were walking, following the road, and someone brought them into the community,” he said.

The ABF has increased patrols in the waters off WA’s north west in recent months after an increase in illegal fishers in the Kimberley Marine Park. 

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