By Paul Oates
In last night’s local news there was an expose from the Queensland
government on how much the health services currently being provided to PNGians travelling to Australian facilities in the Torres Strait are costing the Queensland government. The estimated cost was in the many millions of dollars. The Commonwealth government is now being asked to help with funding.
Now why isn’t this assistance being funded by AusAID? Afterall, it is
overseas aid and directly being applied to our immediate neighbours. At least the expenditure of these funds could be accountable under the Queensland government and not under a very fluid and extremely murky PNG government program as revealed by the recent PNG Commission of Inquiry (COI), into government finances. Only five PNG authorities were exonerated by the COI from the many other government bodies expending funds.
But what might happen if PNG people from all over the country start travelling to Australian facilities in the Torres Strait for treatment?
What happens if the trickle becomes a flood? Would these people then be shipped off to Christmas Island to be ultimately accepted as permanent residents? Many PNG people would welcome the opportunity.
Some might also say that PNG people have an equal or better claim to Australian citizenship than others from elsewhere.