Immigration and Border Protection

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October 11, 2017

Transferring refugees from Manus Island to Nauru is a glaring admission of failure by an Immigration Minister who is incapable of appropriately managing offshore processing centres or securing other third country resettlement arrangements.

Manus Island and Nauru were set up as regional transit facilities but have become places of indefinite detention because of the Abbott-Turnbull Government’s failure to secure other third country resettlement options.

Transferring up to 700 refugees from one centre to another is not a long term solution; these people urgently need viable third country resettlement options.

Peter Dutton should have made securing third country resettlement options a priority from his first day on the job as Immigration Minister.

Peter Dutton has serious questions to answer about his plans to transfer refugees from Manus Island to Nauru.

What services will be available for those refugees who are left behind on Manus Island?

Why did Peter Dutton wait until there was only 20 days until the closure of the Manus Island centre to make his move at the last minute?

Will Peter Dutton guarantee conditions won’t deteriorate for the women, children and families already living in Nauru Regional Processing Centre when up to 700 refugees move into the centre?

Peter Dutton still hasn’t explained how security, health and welfare services in Nauru will be delivered when the current contractors pull out on 31 October.

There has been no open tender process to ensure ongoing services in Nauru are secured, value for money in contracting is achieved or that basic service delivery standards will be met.

Now Peter Dutton is talking about shuffling close to an additional 700 refugees into a centre where there is no guarantee the basics of security, food and health services will be available from next month onwards.

Labor recently wrote to Peter Dutton to express our concerns about the availability of medical services and transfers for asylum seekers and refugees and sought assurance that medical transfers will be available when required and recommended by medical experts.

Three weeks later, the Chief Medical Officer and Surgeon General responsible for overseeing healthcare and medical treatment of asylum seekers and refugees resigned from the Department of Immigration and Border Protection.

It’s time Peter Dutton accepts responsibility for the mess he has made in Manus and Nauru and immediately commences negotiation of other third country resettlement options for eligible refugees.