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Manus to receive first asylum seekers
Post Courier 8th November 2012
By ISAAC NICHOLAS
THE Australian and PNG government have announced an additional development package for the people of Manus that should now pave the way for the arrival of the first refugees for processing over the next coming days.
The additional package, which will run into millions of kina and target infrastructure maintenance and upgrading projects on the Island was announced yesterday by PM Peter O’Neill and Australian High Commissioner to PNG Ian Kemish.
Mr O’Neill said the joint initiative on the development package was agreed to between the Manus provincial govt and the Australian and PNG govts.
He said the Australian High Commissioner and Manus Governor Charlie Benjamin did a joint trip to Manus where they identified a number of projects which will be undertaken.
The PM said the additional package will include the maintenance and upgrading of the Lorengau General Hospital, building of 20 new classrooms for Manus schools, maintenance and upgrade of Manus provincial high school, upgrade and sealing of Momote airport to Manus, Lombrum and Lorengau town roads and upgrade of Lorengau market.
“Immediately we have agreed to carry out a few projects including maintenance and upgrading of Lorengau General Hospital which has been run down for quite some time so the Australian and PNG govts will fund that upgrade and maintenance of the hospital,” Mr O’Neill said. “Also we agreed to build 20 new classrooms, upgrade Lorengau high school and try to give better education to our children.
“We are also embarking on a program which will upgrade and seal all the roads between Momote airport to Lorengau town, Lorengau town road upgrade and sealing and also from down to Lombrum Naval Base which the Australian and PNG govt have agreed to undertake immediately.
“As far as the Lorengau market is concerned, the Australian High Commissioner had an opportunity to visit the market and we will upgrade the facilities at the market so our people can use it better.
“I want to thank the Australian govt for their support and we look forward to receiving the first refugees as and when the Australian govt is ready. I understand the facilities at Lombrum are ready to take in refugees for processing,” Mr O’Neill said.
Australian High Commissioner Mr Kemish said the Australian govt is committed to abiding by the agreement in the MOA between the two countries to develop a substantial development package for Manus, on top of existing development programs.
“We appreciate the PM’s leadership and govt intention to work hand in hand with us in the sustainable development of Manus Island,” Mr Kemish said
“We very much appreciate the generosity of the Manus people and the co-operation with the Governor and the Member for Manus.