A number of asylum seekers have been arrested after a “disturbance“ at the Manus Island detention centre.
Immigration Minister Scott Morrison said the centre is was “calm” and staff were safe.
News of the incident emerged after refugee advocacy groups reported a riot squad was mobilised when asylum seekers breached the PNG centre’s perimeter fence yesterday afternoon.
Mr Morrison says he has received reports that PNG police had arrested a number of asylum seekers.
He said some had received medical treatment and damage at the centre was “minor”.
The Refugee Action Coalition says the riot escalated after detainees were told they would not be resettled in Australia.
Mr Morrison has dismissed those claims.
“I am advised that suggestions reportedly made by asylum advocate groups in relation to this incident that transferees had been informed they would not be settled in Papua New Guinea are false,” he said in a statement this morning.
About 1300 asylum seekers are housed on Manus Island.
Local MP Ron Knight said he understood that seven asylum seekers had been arrested after the "fight".
Prime Minister Tony Abbott said the only way to avoid disturbances at detention centres was to ensure asylum seekers didn't come by boat.
“If you come to Australia illegally by boat this is, I’m afraid, what happens to you. As far as this government is concerned the way is shut,” he said this morning.
Mr Abbott said he had been told by PNG Prime Minister Peter O’Neill that refugees still had the option of being resettled there.
“My understanding is that there has been no such information given to people that they will never be resettled in PNG,” he said.
“The same deal that was on offer by the former government remains on offer.”