They also faced the cessation of groceries, medical services and security services due to nonpayment of bills to Papua New Guinean companies employed to provide these services.
The refugees and asylum seekers, 64 in total, are those who remain from Australia’s processing regime that commenced in 2012.
In relation to the PNG humanitarian program, Deputy Prime Minister John Rosso, who is also responsible for the Ministry for Immigration and Border Security, met with the service providers on 23 November 2023 for open and honest discussions regarding the issues relating to the PNG Humanitarian Program.
The Deputy Prime Minister told the service providers that the matter would not be resolved overnight, however, he would be working with the Australian Government and the Department of Home Affairs to settle the outstanding payments and maintain service going forward until the last person leaves PNG.
Rosso has tasked the Ministry to facilitate a preliminary investigation and an audit into the program.
The Guardian reported that both the governments of Australia and PNG claim that the other is responsible for the ongoing support of those refugees and asylum seekers held in PNG.
Furthermore, it is said that more than K120 million is owed to PNG companies.