Processing centre closes

National

By HELEN TARAWA
THE Manus regional processing centre closes today with outstanding issues still being discussed by Australia and PNG, says Minister for Immigration and Border Security Petrus Thomas.
Thomas said the regional resettlement agreement between the two governments was still in force.
“The date for the closure of the Manus regional processing centre is October 31.
“But that does not mean that the refugees and non-refugees will have to leave (Manus),” he said.
“We still have outstanding issues to be discussed after October 31.
“What the Australians plan to do with the refugees and non-refugees in PNG and their plans to resettle them in a third country are issues we are yet to discuss with Australia.”
Thomas said Immigration officers would discuss with Australia a way forward after today.
“Tomorrow (today) is the closure of the centre but we still have the other two sites which the refugees and non-refugees will stay,” he said.
“The non-refugee centre has some services yet to be restored while the East Lorengau Transit Centre is all in place for the refugees. We will not be moving the refugees by force.
It’s going to be a voluntary movement by refuges and non-refugees out of the regional processing centre so we don’t expect any force to be used while the transition is happening.”

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