Border security under fire after men detained in Qld

Laine Clark and Fraser BartonAAP
Five men have been detained by Australian authorities on Saibai Island. (Aaron Bunch/AAP PHOTOS)
Camera IconFive men have been detained by Australian authorities on Saibai Island. (Aaron Bunch/AAP PHOTOS) Credit: AAP

Border security in the Torres Strait has come under fire after a group of men trying to enter Australia on a dinghy were detained.

Torres Strait Island Mayor Phillemon Mosby says more federal government funding is needed to police people smuggling in his region following the incident.

It is believed five men are in custody on Saibai Island off the far north Queensland coast after being intercepted by authorities in the Torres Strait.

The men are reportedly from West Africa but it is unclear whether they have claimed asylum in Australia.

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Mr Mosby said the federal government had not told him about the detainees in his own backyard and he only finding out when alerted by a local councillor.

"She was informed by a family member who happened to drive down the road on Monday ... and found five guys casually sitting like normal locals," he told AAP.

"I was disappointed I wasn't informed by the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade Office on Thursday Island.

"Nobody from the federal government ... contacted me or my office to let me know there has been a security breach in the region and that those five people were kept on Saibai."

Mr Mosby called for more federal government assistance.

"They (Commonwealth) can pour millions of dollars overseas and other pressure points of border security but not to Torres Strait," he said.

"Enough is enough. We're not a buffer zone to protect Australia.

"My council is the only local government in this country that manages an international border and yet we're not funded appropriately".

The five men reportedly travelled through Indonesia to Papua New Guinea, allegedly using fake documents before attempting to enter far north Queensland.

PNG Police Commissioner David Manning told the ABC they had launched an "ongoing investigation", with two others being questioned over their involvement.

Asked about the group's arrival, the Australian Border Force said it had "well-established processes to manage irregular movements of people in the Torres Strait".

It is believed the five detained men have undergone medical checks.

Thirty nine people from Pakistan and Bangladesh were found north of Broome in Western Australia in February and flown to an offshore detention centre on the Pacific island of Nauru.

The coalition said at the time it was the 13th attempted boat arrival by asylum seekers since the last federal election.

Opposition leader Peter Dutton on Wednesday said Operation Sovereign Borders was "light at best" under Prime Minister Anthony Albanese.

"I just don't think the prime minister's got the backbone to stand up to people smugglers or to our adversaries or others who would seek to do us harm," he told reporters in Rockhampton.

Deputy Opposition Leader Sussan Ley called for Immigration Minister Andrew Giles to be dumped.

She said Mr Albanese had to take action following the Torres Strait interception and a freed immigration detainee allegedly violently assaulting Perth grandmother Ninette Simmons.

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