PNG governor may stymie Australian naval base bid on Manus

6:27 pm on 17 November 2018
Manus Provincial Governor, Charlie Benjamin.

Manus Provincial Governor, Charlie Benjamin. Photo: Supplied

The governor of Papua New Guinea's Manus Province has hinted that he could obstruct Australia's bid to build a naval port on Manus Island.

Australia's prime minister Scott Morrison announced on November 1 that his country would fund the development of a deepwater base there.

The move is seen as a counter to China's aspirations to develop the site.

The Manus governor Charlie Benjamin told Reuters that he had not been consulted on the development and that it would have to benefit the local residents.

"I have my people living on the island and we are the ones affected," Mr Benjamin said.

"The government might have the right but if we decide to put our foot down, there will be problems."

The Manus governor has previously been critical of central government's lack of consultation over the Australian run refugee detention centres based on the island.

Manus is PNG's northernmost and smallest province with 50,000 people and an Australian funded navy base there could provide a military outpost for Canberra in the Pacific.

Prime Minister Morrison has said Australian vessels would be regular visitors.