23 Jul 2013

PNG locals worried about new refugee arrangement with Australia

7:11 am on 23 July 2013

The executive director of PNG's Institute of National Affairs says many Papua New Guineans are concerned about the new refugee arrangement their government has signed with with Australia

PNG and Australia agreed on Friday that all boat people reaching Australia who are subsequently found to be genuine refugees will be resettled in PNG.

Paul Barker says the agreement caught many people by surprise and has raised concerns about PNG's capacity to resettle potentially thousands of foreigners.

He says while it provides for increased Australian assistance in infrastructure development, particularly in the health sector, the arrangement seems questionable to many in PNG.

".Within Papua new Guinea there's extensive concern about an Australian problem being effectively dumped on PNG and the Pacific - ok albeit that there may be some localised economic benefits, but how are these people going to fit in to PNG society?"

The executive director of PNG's Institute of National Affairs, Paul Barker.