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PNG PM confirms Manus Island reopening

Papua New Guinea’s Prime Minister, Peter O’Neill, says his cabinet has approved an asylum-seeker detention centre on Manus Island.

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Mr O’NEILL says a timeframe on the re-establishment of the centre is “entirely up to the Australian government”, which will manage the centre.

He says Australian officials will travel to PNG sometime next week to discuss the details of re-opening the centre.

“We have similar (asylum seeker) problems in PNG but it’s not on the same scale as our Australian neighbours,” Mr O’Neill said.

The Opposition Leader, Tony Abbott, says that reopening an immigration detention centre on Papua New Guinea’s Manus Island will not be enough to stop asylum-seeker boats coming to Australia.

Mr Abbott told reporters in Perth on Thursday that the Manus Island facility had only been a part of former prime minister John Howard’s Pacific Solution and the government should go further.

“I think the Australian people have learned that you just can’t trust this government and we should believe it when we see it when it comes to any offshore asylum seeker processing centres.”

Mr Abbott said it was interesting that the government was looking at reopening Manus Island, part of the Howard government’s pacific solution.

“If you are going to properly implement the coalition’s policy you wouldn’t just have Manus Island, you would have Nauru, you would have temporary protection visas. And you’d have an option up your sleeve, the option of turning boats around where that could safely be done,” Mr Abbott said.

“I think it’s all very well for the government to take up one aspect of the coalition’s policy but there’s a lot more there that they should take up if they want to actually stop the boats,” he said.

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