Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Close Manus until deal sorted, says PNG MP Ron Knight

From AAP

A PAPUA New Guinea MP has called for the Australian-run Manus Island detention centre to be closed until after the federal election.
Manus Island MP and vice-minister for trade Ron Knight today said Manus residents are preparing to "explode" over the deal, which he says has seen mainland PNG and Australian companies brought in at the expense of locals.
"I met with DIAC (Department of Immigration and Citizenship) officials," Mr Knight said.
"I told them I wasn't happy with the situation and I want the whole thing closed down until after the election.
"We will not be stepped on."
Mr Knight, a long time supporter of the facility, accused security firm G4S of underpaying Manus sourced staff, and says other contracts associated with the facility have gone to mainland PNG and Australian companies.

He said DIAC is yet to give him a final figure for the Manus plan.
"They couldn't or wouldn't tell me," he said.
"I have to explain to my people why Kina 400 million ($187m) is going to Angau hospital and Kina 200 million ($93.4m) to the Highlands Highway.
"This thing is getting out of hand."
During a speech yesterday to locals in Lorengau, the Manus capital, Mr Knight said he would refuse a proposal to build a permanent centre next to a primary school and demand a halt to all construction.
Board members of East Lorengau Primary School told the ABC last month school buildings will be knocked down to make way for a 30-metre wide access road to the new facility.
"We like Australia, we want to help Australia," Mr Knight said today.
"But we wouldn't do this to Australia. We want a fair go."
Immigration minister Tony Burke earlier this month defended the plan, telling journalists in Port Moresby there were already detention centres "within the community" in Australia.
Mr Knight's announcement follows reports PNG's chief migration officer Mataio Rabura temporarily halted all access to the centre last week following alleged breaches of protocol by Australian officials.
In a statement on Friday Mr Rabura said the issues had been dealt with and he was now happy with the implementation of the Manus processing scheme.
Australia is currently housing about 380 asylum-seekers on Lombrum Naval base in Manus Island.

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