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PNG gives state land to Australia for Asylum Center

Staff Reporter 9/04/2013 | |
A 1,000ha state land in Manus PNG was given to the Australian government to build a permanent asylum seeker facility, according to reliable sources on the island.
A senior public servant, who asked not to be identified, said the piece of land was located on the south-eastern corner of the island at a place called N’drahukei. N’drahukei is home to Manus Governor Charlie Benjamin. The facility, once completed, will house more than 2,000 asylum seekers, he said.
It is unclear whether work on that facility, about 80km from Lorengau, has commenced yet.
The source told The National that another facility that would serve as an administration centre for the Manus asylum seekers would be built 1km from Lorengau town.
“It is also state land,” he said.
“But for goodwill purposes, we are allowing the landowners to participate in its development.”
He said the land next to Lorengau should house a few asylum seekers who had been cleared and were ready to be deported back to their countries or Australia.
“It will serve as an administrative hub and a departure centre,” he said.
He said the temporary facility at Lombrum would remain but not expanded because of the little space and the dispute with traditional landowners.
“They said they (Australians) will come in April to build the facility but it is now September,” he said.
“I do not know when they are coming but they will definitely come as the land was already given to them.”
No comments could be obtained from Benjamin or the provincial administration.

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