20 Aug 2012

Australian government to review refugee processing centre reports

10:20 am on 20 August 2012

Australia's federal government will give a clearer picture of how long it will take to restart offshore processing of asylum seekers after its advance teams return home this week.

The Defence Minister, Stephen Smith, says defence teams sent to Nauru and Papua New Guinea's Manus Island are due back this evening.

He told Australian media the Government will be in a position early this week to consider their reports and then start establishing temporary and subsequently permanent facilities.

The teams have found the facilities on both islands in disrepair and it's unclear how long it will take to get them up and running.

The state of the facilities means the government's aim to start sending asylum seekers offshore within the next few weeks could prove unrealistic.

The Opposition Leader, Tony Abbott urged against any lengthy delays.

He says offshore processing would send a strong signal to people smugglers.