# How Much Is \$1 Billion? (The Numbers)

Hey guys, here’s a fun fact: Running immigration detention centres will cost the federal government \$1 billion over four years. Today it was reported that to reopen an immigration detention centre on Nauru will cost taxpayers an estimated \$1 billion to accommodate asylum seekers in Australia. The security company Serco is reported to have negotiated a new four-year contract with the immigration department over four years at \$1.03 billion.

\$1 billion is large. In fact, it’s hard to absorb and understand the very concept of what a ‘billion dollars’ quantifies. This might help give you a handle on just how much a billion really is:

One billion inches is 15,783 miles, more than halfway around the earth.

If you started counting from one to one billion and counted 24 hours a day 7 days a week, it would take you 95 years to finish.

One billion minutes ago Jesus was alive.

\$1 billion can buy 3,584,229 of the iPod Classic at \$279 a piece. That’s more than 573 million gigabytes of storage space!

\$1 billion is the total value of the global black market firearms trade.

\$1 billion is estimated at 1% of the value of Facebook, a company with 845 million customers (user numbers calculated at the end of December 2011).

\$1 billion can buy a year’s worth of the drug AZT for 333,000 HIV-infected people.

\$1 billion could pay the average annual grocery bill for 250,000 families of four.

According to the most recent immigration detention facilities statistics there is a total of 4,409 people in immigration detention facilities in Australia. The federal government’s \$1 billion spend over four years will translate to approximately \$56, 702 to detain one asylum seeker per year – not much less than the average full-time wage of Australians, which was \$68,791 a year in 2011. That means \$1 billion will be spent to house 0.00019% of the Australian population.

\$1 billion could pay the annual salary of 7,870 Australian Parliamentary Members who could be making an administrative review on the current immigration policy; work on legislative change to ensure adverse ASIO security assessment is redrafted and subsequently implemented; work out what the fuck they are doing with accepting onshore processing; protect the human rights of all asylum seekers and refugees (who land in accordance with the United Nations Convention relating to the Status of Refugees); and generally think up cool ideas how to run the country.

OR, \$1 billion could buy 38,461,5384 cans of Coca Cola. That’s a shitload of refreshment.