24 Oct 2017

Australia to continue services for Manus Island detainees

3:49 pm on 24 October 2017

An Australian senate committee has heard food, healthcare and other services for Manus Island detainees will continue to be funded by Australia after it closes its immigration detention centre next week in Papua New Guinea.

An image from the 84th day of protest in the Manus Island detention centre.

An image from the 84th day of protest in the Manus Island detention centre. Photo: supplied

Fairfax reported the Australian Border Force told the committee the estimated cost of services would be between $AU150 and $AU250 million for 12 months from 1 November.

Australian Border Force deputy commissioner Mandy Newton said Australia was required to maintain services after they were discontinued at the centre.

"What I'm telling the committee is that all services will stop on the 31st of October and all residents of the facility will be expected to live in the alternate facilities where they'll receive all services."

Ms Newton said contracts to provide the services were still being drawn up.

She said 606 detainees were refusing to leave the detention centre at the Lombrum naval base for buildings in Manus Island's Lorengau town.

Yesterday, the detainees marked their 84th day of peaceful protest against their eviction from the centre.

Held for four years without trial for seeking asylum in Australia, the detainees fear further machete attacks by local people in Lorengau opposed to the relocation.

The detention centre was reopened in 2013 under an agreement between Australia and PNG.

But the PNG government ordered the centre's closure after the supreme court ruled last year detaining asylum seekers was unconstitutional.

Detainees argued their reloaction on the remote island would amount to a continuation of their detention.

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