The head of the Home Affairs Department has signalled Australia may one day be open to accepting New Zealand's offer to resettle refugees in offshore detention.
Home Affairs secretary Michael Pezzullo has left the door slightly ajar to one day accepting New Zealand's offer to resettle some refugees being held in offshore detention.
The federal government has consistently declined to offload 150 refugees onto New Zealand, fearing the country's visa-free travel entitlements to Australia will be used as a marketing tool by people smugglers.
Labor has urged the government to take New Zealand up on its offer, arguing the travel entitlements can be amended and are not an insurmountable hurdle.
"The New Zealand offer is welcome and it's certainly been the subject of expressions of appreciation on the part of the Australian government," Mr Pezzullo told a Senate committee in Canberra on Monday.
"But unless and until that question of on-travel can be addressed and resolved ... once we're in a position to do that, it might be more possible to take up that offer."