5 Aug 2013

Nauru in no position to resettle refugees, says opposition

7:21 pm on 5 August 2013

The Nauru opposition says the country lacks the capacity to cater for the settlement of refugees under Australia's contentious arrangements for dealing with asylum seekers arriving by boat.

The Nauru president, Baron Waqa, and his Australian counterpart, Kevin Rudd, have revealed plans to extend the present arrangements, processing asylum seeker claims for refugee status, to allow for resettlement.

A spokesperson for the Nauru government, Joanna Olsson, says the refugees would only be allowed to stay for a limited time and would not get Nauruan citizenship..

The opposition spokesperson, Mathew Batsiua, says the settlement of refugees on the island is unfeasible.

"We have got out own issues here in Nauru to look at and try to combat. We have got health issues. We have got a young population. Unemployment. We have got education challenges. We have got resource constraints. We have got utility like water, power, sewage issues to deal with on a regular basis and now we take on the resettlement obligations - it is just not realistic and feasible."