5 Aug 2005

Australian papers query US$1.4m outlay for empty PNG detention centre

1:36 pm on 5 August 2005

An Australian newspaper has questioned the amount of money spent on maintaining an empty Papua New Guinea detention centre for illegal entrants.

The Adelaide Advertiser reports Australian taxpayers have spent 1. 4 million US dollars keeping the empty detention centre on PNG's Manus Island open.

The reports say the centre on Nauru - which houses 32 people - costs about 25 million US dollars a year to run.

They are no plans to close either centre until at least 2007.

Australia's policy to process asylum seekers offshore is said to have cost about 170 million US dollars so far.

In an editorial, the Adelaide Advertiser calls on the federal government to wind down the centres and redirect funds to improving at-sea surveillance for illegal entrants.