17 Apr 2013

Australia says permanent camp needed on Manus in PNG

2:12 pm on 17 April 2013

The Australian Immigration Department has outlined deficiencies at its detention camp for asylum seekers on Papua New Guinea's Manus Island and says a permanent facility is urgently needed.

In a submission to a parliamentary inquiry, the department warns current conditions could lead to increased tension among detainees.

Bridget Tunnicliffe reports:

"In November last year the Australian government started transferring asylum seekers to Manus as part of a policy aimed at deterring boatpeople from trying to reach Australia. The island's temporary facility currently houses about 225 people, including family groups. The government has set up an inquiry into the plan for a permanent regional processing centre on Manus, that would accommodate 600 people and cost around 178 million US dollars. The Immigration Department's submission says current living conditions at the centre which mostly consists of tents, could lead to increased mental health issues. It says the centre is cramped, and a lack of recreation facilities mean the asylum seekers focus more on their push for refugee status. It says a permanent facility is urgently needed since Australia could be using Manus Island for an extended period."