6 Aug 2013

PNG's PM - refugee deal will be renegotiated, if numbers get too big

8:33 am on 6 August 2013

Papua New Guinea's government says it will renegotiate its refugee resettlement plan with Australia if it has trouble managing large numbers of asylum seekers.

PNG's prime minister, Peter O'Neill told journalists in Port Moresby yesterday he would not speculate on how many asylum seekers will be sent to Manus Island, where Australia is currently housing more than 60 people.

Australian Immigration Minister Tony Burke last week flagged a major expansion of detention places on PNG, as the government implements its new hardline policy.

Mr O'Neill said if asylum seeker numbers increase, they will sit down with Australian officials and go through it.

He also said he wanted to remind people that he has clearly stated the agreement will be reviewed in 12 months time.

Peter O'Neill added the deal is not written in stone, so it can be changed, and that any problems will be addressed along the way.

Australia's prime minister, Kevin Rudd, had said at the announcement of the agreement with PNG, that no cap had been placed on the number of people Australia can send to PNG.