NEWS AU

At least 10 refugees remain in PNG despite Medevac approval

Up to 10 refugees approved to travel to Australia under medical transfer laws are stuck in a Papua New Guinea detention camp, senators have been told.

There have been nearly 350 applications from refugees in offshore detention centres under Australian Medevac laws. The legislation allows the temporary transfers for treatment or assessment.

The data was revealed by the Department of Home Affairs officials during a senate estimates committee on Monday evening.

There had been 341 applications made under Medevac laws since they came into effect, with 293 deemed valid but only 135 involving transfers to Australia.

The Medevac legislation allows the temporary transfers for treatment or assessment. So far, about 350 application have been received.

The Medevac legislation allows the temporary transfers for treatment or assessment. So far, about 350 application have been received.

AAP

The committee also heard there were asylum seekers stuck at PNG’s Bomana detention facility despite being approved for transfer.

There are currently 47 people detained there, with up to 10 men holding valid applications for treatment under Medevac laws. However, it may be less than 10, with the officials saying six detainees had recently been returned to countries of origin.

Senators also heard people transferred to Australia for further medical assessment and subsequently found not to require extra treatment could not be returned to their offshore facility.

Home Affairs General council Pip De Veau.

Home Affairs General council Pip De Veau.

AAP

Home Affairs general counsel Pip de Veau said there would need to be an amendment to existing Medevac legislation to allow the outpatients to be returned.

Five of the people transferred under the laws had refused treatment for the condition they had been transferred to Australia for.

Home Affairs secretary Michael Pezzullo said there had been 1117 transfers from PNG and Nauru since 2013, with “only a handful” transferred back.

Mr Pezzullo said these transferees had “jumped on” legal cases to stop their transfer.


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