27 Jul 2013

Six months to rebuild asylum centre: Nauru

8:35 am on 27 July 2013

The government of Nauru said on Friday it would take around six months for the asylum seeker centre there, which was wrecked in a riot a week ago, to be rebuilt.

AAP reports only the kitchen and recreation facility remain. The rest of the detention centre was burned to the ground last Friday night, with the damage estimated at $A60 million.

Nauru was expected to open to allow asylum seekers freedom to move around on the island.

But acting president David Adeang said in a statement that decision may be reversed.

"They (asylum seekers) break our laws and they will face our laws."

AAP reports more than 500 of the 544 asylum seekers on the centre are believed to have taken part in the riot.

Opposition Leader Tony Abbott says capacity at Australia's other regional processing centre on Manus Island was already swamped, even before Prime Minister Kevin Rudd announced a deal with Papua New Guinea.

Eleven boats with 844 people on board have arrived since Mr Rudd announced last Friday that Australia would no longer accept asylum seekers arriving by boat, but would instead send them to PNG for procvessing and resettlement.

"Mr Rudd can talk and talk and talk, but the boats just come and come and come," Mr Abbott said in Launceston, Tasmania.

AAP reports Home Affairs Minister Jason Clare admits arrivals are likely to continue for the immediate future.

"Every lie you can think of is now being told to encourage people to get on to boats," Mr Clare said. "That's why you can expect more boats to come over the next few weeks."

Mr Abbott said people smugglers would not take Labor's new policy seriously until asylum seekers were actually sent to PNG.