14 Oct 2002

PNG government to decide soon on renewal of Australia refugee camp deal

3:54 pm on 14 October 2002

The Papua New Guinea government says it will decide next week on whether to extend a deal permitting Australia to process its asylum seekers on Manus.

The Foreign Minister Sir Rabbie Namaliu made the announcement after the Prime Minister, Sir Michael Somare, indicated that the arrangement with Australia could be extended for another 12 months.

Australia's agreement with PNG to use the Lombrum base on Manus expired last Friday.

Sir Rabbie says the extension would give Australia time to finish processing the applications of 98 asylum seekers still in Manus.

He says has been impressed with the centre's facilities and that the agreement with Australia has improved business activity in the province and provided job opportunites.