22 Jul 2013

Threats seen in controversial refugee deal signed by Australia and PNG

5:54 pm on 22 July 2013

The executive director of Papua New Guinea's Institute of National Affairs says the new refugee arrangement with Australia could exacerbate problems PNG already faces with overseas arrivals.

The comment from Paul Barker comes after PNG and Australia agreed that all boat people reaching Australia who are subsequently found to be genuine refugees will be resettled in PNG.

Mr Barker says there are understood to be many thousands of foreigners in PNG having entered illegally from places like China.

He says a lot of these people have taken up business activities which are meant to be restricted for locals.

"That is controversial and so suddenly the idea that a load more people will be arriving on the scene does cause controversey and some angst, especially when you consider concerns related to the very different cultural and religious backgrounds that many of the people coming under the refugee arrangements would have and how well they would fit in"

Paul Barker