Prime Minister Peter O’Neill has announced through a statement that the Manus Regional Processing Centre will now be closed following the decision of the Supreme Court of Papua New Guinea.
Taking into account the somewhat negative impact the closure will have on the Manus economy, PM O’Neill says the government will work with Australia to seek to minimise damage to businesses and workers.
Many small and medium enterprises and their employees, over 500 of whom are Manus locals, will now be out of work.
O’Neill says the PNG government welcomes the outcome of the ruling, and will immediately ask the Australian government to make alternative arrangements for the asylum seekers currently held at the Regional Processing Centre.
He says successful refugee applicants, on the other hand, will be invited to live in PNG, only if they are willing to.
The Prime Minister said negotiations with Australia will focus on the timeframe for closing the Manus facility and managing the settlement of legitimate refugees who are interested in staying in Papua New Guinea.