Manus Islanders Concerned About Economic Impact Of Detention Center Closure

Detainees reportedly offered relocation to Nauru

PORT MORESBY, Papua New Guinea (The National, Oct. 10, 2017) – People on Manus Island are becoming more concerned about the impact of the closure of the detention facility on the island at the end of this month.

According to the chairman of the Ndrakorkor clan of Lombrum, Wep Kanawi, the locals have written to the authorities and pleaded with the Government directly.

The Ndrakorkor clan owns the Lombrum land on which the original asylum seekers’ facility was constructed.

Kanawi said despite their ongoing calls to the Papua New Guinea, Australia and Manus government officials to become equitably involved in spin-off services, nothing has happened.

[PIR editor's note: On Oct. 11, 2017 RNZI reported that 'The Human Rights Law Centre in Australia says a notice posted inside the Manus Island detention centre on Papua New Guinea has told refugees detained there for the last four years that they can elect to transfer to the Australian Government's other offshore processing facility on Nauru.']

Kanawi said that although the Australian Government has spent and provided between Kl billion and K2 billion [US$307-614 millin] on establishing and running the facility, only a token percentage of this has benefitted the landowners.

“It became inevitable that the facilities would have to wind down after the Supreme Court ruling last year which declared the detention facility unconstitutional.

“It is now becoming a sad reality for not only landowners, but more so for the asylum seekers and those who have had their status changed to refugees. Manus people will also be hurt financially and socially,” he said.

National Planning and Monitoring Minister Richard Maru told Parliament last month that the Government would develop a special economic zone (SEZ) on Manus to address job and internal revenue losses following the shutdown of the centre later this month.

Maru stressed that the internal revenue for Manus would drop from K25 million [US$7.7 million] to K1.5 million [$460,000] per annum following the closure.

“One thousand two hundred jobs will be lost, 100 SMEs (small to medium enterprises) will go out of business,” he said.

The National
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