Department denies boozy culture at Manus

  • 02/19/2019

The immigration department insists the Australian operator of the Manus Island detention centre has always maintained a strict drug and alcohol policy.


Papua New Guinea Prime Minister Peter O’Neill has ordered a crackdown on staff drinking and drug taking, in the wake of allegations three Australian guards who worked for Wilson Security raped a local woman who also worked at the centre.

Mr O’Neill said the centre was supposed to operate a dry policy and criticised centre operator Transfield Services and Wilson Security for not enforcing the rules.

He has ordered PNG’s chief migration officer to impose stricter controls and conduct regular drug and alcohol tests.

The immigration department has defended the action of Transfield.

“Service provider staff are subject to testing for alcohol consumption to ensure compliance with the drug and alcohol policy,” a department spokeswoman told AAP on Thursday.

“The department expects service provider staff to act appropriately and with integrity in all their dealings.”

The department was aware some disciplinary action had been taken against staff but declined to provide figures on the number of breaches.

The spokeswoman said the department takes any concerns raised by the PNG government seriously.

The PNG police investigation into the rape claims is ongoing and officers are upset the guards were suspended and returned to Australia before they could be questioned.

Immigration Minister Peter Dutton said the Australian Federal Police and his department would help with the PNG investigation.

It was important to ensure people acted within the law, he told reporters in Sydney on Thursday.


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