Government will support any move to resettle refugees: O’Neill

Prime Minister Peter O’Neill has revealed that the Government will support any move to resettle any refugees permanently.

O’Neill made the remarks after the announcement by the United States and Australia who have agreed to a one-off refugee resettlement deal for people on Manus Island and Nauru.

He was responding to Loop PNG question about the government’s stand this morning.

“We support any moves to resettle any refugee permanently so that they can rebuild their lives,” O’Neill told Loop PNG.

Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull on Sunday confirmed the agreement with the US, following a year of negotiations.

Turnbull was reported by ABC when speaking in Canberra alongside Immigration Minister Peter Dutton, said the deal would only apply to those currently on Nauru and Manus Island and not to any new asylum seeker boat arrivals.

Authorities hope to begin moving people to the United States by early next year.

ABC reported that Turnbull would not be drawn on the number of refugees that would be resettled as part of the arrangement, but he said the priority was "very much on the most vulnerable" — in particular, families on Nauru.

It is further reported that the final figure will be up to American officials from the Department of Homeland Security, who will arrive in Australia to begin the vetting process in the next few days.

Freddy Mou