Refugees can be settled in PNG: O’Neill
PRIME Minister Peter O’Neill said after the signing in Brisbane that he strongly believes genuine refugees can be resettled in Papua New Guinea.
“Specific communities like Papua New Guinea and the other island states continue to have challenges of maintaining their borders, and as a result of that we continue to have illegal immigrants into those countries,” he said.
“Today’s regional resettlement program is one that we believe that it’s going to resolve many of those issues that we have brought forward to the Australian government.
“I believe that the processing centre and the resettlement arrangements that we are forging will enable us to have an orderly processing of citizens, of people who are seeking genuine citizenship of other countries in the region.
“That is why we agreed to a resettlement program where we believe strongly that genuine refugees can be ... resettled in our country and within the region in the years to come.”
The package includes a significant expansion of the Manus Island detention centre to house 3,000 people up from the original capacity of 600.
Currently, about 145 people are housed on the island.
A recent United Nations report was highly critical of conditions for asylum seekers on Manus Island, but the PNG government says construction will start on a new permanent centre shortly and it will be an improvement.