25 Jul 2013

Asylum seekers in PNG moved to Australian mainland

7:35 pm on 25 July 2013

Almost all the asylum seekers on Manus Island in Papua New Guinea have been moved off the island - with some, at least, being taken to the Australian mainland.

Two separate airlifts over the past two days has taken more than 100 asylum seekers to Curtin detention camp in the Kimberley in West Australia.

An official with the Department of Immigration and Citizenship says others has also been removed over the past week and just a handful of asylum seekers remain on the island.

The official would not say whether all the asylum seekers had been taken to the Curtin camp, but he says they had been relocated within the Australian network which includes camps on the mainland and Christmas Island.

The removal of the asylum seekers came amid allegations of daily sexual assaults at the camp and ahead of a flying visit from Australian immigration minster, Tony Burke.

But the immigration department has indicated they were moved to accommodate Australia's new policy for dealing with would be refugees.

Last Friday prime minister Kevin Rudd announced that from that date asylum-seekers arriving by boat would be sent to PNG and would have no chance of being settled in Australia as refugeeS.