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On 2 March 2011 the Parliament established the Joint Select Committee on the Christmas Island Tragedy to inquire into the incident on 15 December 2010 in which a suspected irregular entry vessel (SIEV) foundered on rocks at Rocky Point on Christmas Island (CI).

The committee was asked to examine:

  • operational responses of all Commonwealth agencies involved in the response, relevant agency procedures, and inter-agency coordination;
  • communication mechanisms, including between Commonwealth and State agencies;
  • relevant onshore emergency response capabilities on Christmas Island;
  • the after-incident support provided to survivors;
  • the after-incident support provided to affected Christmas Island community members, Customs, Defence and other personnel;
  • having regard to the above, the effectiveness of the relevant administrative and operational procedures and arrangements of Commonwealth agencies in relation to the SIEV 221 incidence and its management; and
  • being mindful of ongoing national security, disruption and law enforcements efforts and the investigations taking place, and considering appropriate information from the Australian Federal Police (AFP) and the Australian Customs and Border Protection Service (including Border Protection Command) to determine, to the extent that is possible, the likely point of origin of the vessel.
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