Call for mandatory requirement to use PNG businesses on Manus Island


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The Chief Executive Officer of the PNG Manufacturers Council has called for a mandatory requirement that major contractors building the Manus Island detention centre use local goods and services.

The Manufacturers Council's Chey Scovell

The Manufacturers Council’s Chey Scovell

The Australian Government is planning to house up to 6,000 asylum seekers on Manus Island, where their claims for refugee status will be assessed.

It had said earlier this year that local businesses and suppliers would be used in the construction of the centre and when it was up and running.

Last week, Australia’s immigration department held information sessions for PNG businesses in Port Moresby, Lae and Manus Island, after complaints from local MPs and business leaders that local businesses were being ignored.

The Manufacturers Council CEO, Chey Scovell, says people were hoping to hear a commitment from the department to engage more local businesses.

However, Scovell told Business Advantage PNG that the immigration official ‘misinformed’ those at the meeting that there was a mandatory requirement, but later admitted to him there wasn’t.

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Scovell says he’s since been asked to put his request in writing to Australia’s Department of Immigration.

Scovell also said it was less likely that a Liberal–National Coalition government—if elected this weekend—will use local companies in the building and running of the detention centre.

Manus MP Ron Knight has told local media that landowners near the processing centre feel that they’re not getting any benefits.

‘There is no Manus company involved in any business out there at the moment.

‘It seems like there never will be,’ Knight said.