20 Nov 2013

Australia defends detention camp benefits for PNG

4:39 pm on 20 November 2013

Australia has produced a fact sheet detailing the economic gains made by Papua New Guineans after PNG's prime minister claimed that locals were shut out of opportunities at the Australian-run asylum seeker detention camp at Manus Island.

The Post Courier newspaper quoted Peter O'Neill as telling parliament it is alarming that PNG business people do not get the opportunity to participate when that was the intention in setting up the centre.

Mr O'Neill called it a blatant abuse of trust, but the Australian High Commission in Port Moresby says more than 600 Papua New Guineans are now employed at Manus - most of them locals.

It says the 10 Manus businesses with a direct involvement in the camp have this month registered an average growth in business of nearly 16 percent.

The fact sheet also lists expensive medical equipment being supplied to the Lorengau hospital and the building of classrooms at six schools in the province, as requested by the Manus government.