Australia to close 17 detention centres

Australian immigration minister Peter Dutton (AAP)
Australian immigration minister Peter Dutton (AAP)

The Australian Federal Government has announced the closure of 17 immigration detention centres.

The announcement was made in parliament by the country's immigration minister Peter Dutton ahead of their budget tonight, and comes after two Nauru asylum seekers set themselves alight in the space of two weeks.

"We have worked tirelessly since the day we were first elected to make sure that we could keep the people smugglers out of business, to make sure we could close the detention centres," said Mr Dutton.

It was not revealed which detention centres would be shut down, or where the refugees imprisoned in the centres would be sent.

After news yesterday that a young asylum seeker had set herself on fire, the Refugee Action Coalition placed responsibility squarely with Mr Dutton.

The minister today returned the blame, implying refugee advocates encouraged self-harm.

"These behaviours have intensified in recent times and as we see, they have turned to extreme acts with terrible consequences," Mr Dutton said.

"Advocates who proclaim to represent and support the interests of refugees and asylum seekers must frankly hear a clear message ... their activities and these behaviours must end."