17 Oct 2012

Australia's asylum seeker camp in PNG in jeopardy

4:34 pm on 17 October 2012

The governor of Papua New Guinea's Manus Island says Australia is showing arrogance in failing to consult properly with residents about the re-opening of a centre to process people seeking refugee status in Australia.

Governor Charlie Benjamin says he has been left in the dark about construction contracts and a proposed aid package for reopening of the facility, despite being told to expect the first boatload of arrivals by the end of next week.

Mr Benjamin says this is what happened in 2001 with Manus missing out on everything and it appears that the same thing is happening again.

The Post Courier says the Manus government now wants Australia to find another location for the asylum seekers and that it wants a deal with China for a fish canning plant to be built there instead.

Two weeks ago the Australian Immigration Minister Chris Bowen said his Government intended leaving a legacy on Manus, recognising that the islanders had been very hospitable toward Canberra.

Meanwhile a spokesperson for a landowner group, Mary Handen, says she and other traditional landowners have not been consulted by either government over their demand for 45 million dollars in aid in return for use of land.