June 20, 2013
Several asylum seeker families have been moved off Manus Island in what the ABC understands signals the end of family groups being detained there.
A group of 70 people, including some single men, have been flown to Christmas Island.
The ABC understands the Government has decided it is inappropriate to keep families on Manus Island.
The single men being removed will be replaced by others under a new rotation policy aimed at sending more people to Manus Island in line with the Government’s no advantage principle.
The so-called no advantage principle, introduced last year, is designed to ensure asylum seekers who made it to Australia by boat do not get assessed over those who applied for refugee status through regular processes.
Late yesterday there were 302 people housed at the Manus Island facility.
The temporary centre had been set up with army-style tents and portable-style buildings for accommodation, ablutions, catering and administrative purposes.
Earlier this year the ABC’s Four Corners program spoke with staff at the facility who said it was “too remote” and under-resourced to safely house children.
Dr John Vallentine, who worked at the centre between November and December last year, told the program the health clinic had “very little in the way of paediatric equipment”.
And in April a report prepared by the Immigration Department said the temporary accommodation for asylum seekers on the island were cramped and “key risks in terms of safety and health”.