Manus Island detention centre closure could be delayed

5:26 pm on 26 October 2017

The closure of Australia's immigration detention centre on Papua New Guinea's Manus Island could be delayed by court action.

Protest in Mike compound, Manus Island detention centre, 22-8-17

A protest at the Mike compound of the Manus Island detention centre. Photo: Supplied

Lawyers plan to seek orders that may result in food and water services being maintained at the centre beyond the slated closure date of 31 October.

600 refugees and asylum seekers detained at the centre are refusing to move to the island's Lorengau town for fear of further attacks by locals.

The PNG government said it would not use force to move the detainees but the Australian government said food and water services would be withdrawn on Tuesday.

A lawyer representing the men, Ben Lomai, said the PNG Supreme Court would be asked to intervene.

"If there's anything, food and water should be maintained because that's their constitutional right. So you can't deny them food and water. So if they are allowed to stay there then those are the two services they can be entitled to. Other things can be subject to further negotiation."

Mr Lomai said lawyers would seek orders that guarantee the safety of detainees in Lorengau and that required them to be resettled in a third country.

The PNG chief migration officer was also reported to be seeking directions from the government to ensure the centre's closure was not rushed.

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