Health on agenda for MP delegation to PNG

Focus continues on Australia's relationship with its closest northern neighbour with a multi-party Australian delegation visiting Papua New Guinea this week.

The opposition's foreign affairs spokesman Simon Birmingham, Pacific spokesman Michael McCormack and health spokeswoman Anne Ruston are on the trip, as are three Labor MPs and independent Sophie Scamps.

The group will spend five days touring the capital Port Moresby and nearby towns Kuriva, Kerea and Pari to focus on development work and health.

Maternal health, family and sexual violence, water safety and the prevention and treatment of tuberculosis, malaria and HIV will also be in the spotlight.

Members of the delegation will hold talks with PNG and Australian officials as well as regional leaders and local communities.

"As the closest of neighbours and the deepest of partners, I look forward to the opportunity to better understand the relationship between our nations and how we can secure the best outcomes from our work together," Senator Birmingham said in a statement.

The trip is the senator's first as opposition spokesman, having last visited as trade minister for APEC meetings in 2018.

"I look forward to renewing discussions with local officials on our two-way trade and investment relationship, along with the growing security ties," he said.

The trip follows Prime Minister Anthony Albanese's visit last week, where he committed to a joint security pact with PNG counterpart James Marape.

But one issue not touched by the PM was that of offshore detention, with 92 male refugees and asylum seekers still in PNG, of more than 1300 sent by Australia to Manus Island in 2013 and 2014 for offshore processing.

One of them - Mehrdad Memarbashi - begged the government to help secure his freedom from "prison-like" conditions.

"Please, just free us from here, if you don't want us, we won't come to Australia, just let us go and start our lives," Mr Memarbashi told AAP.

"I want my freedom, I want my life, I want to go to my work, pay my rent for myself, pay my tax myself."

Not recognised as a refugee, he must stay in detention until he gets approval for resettlement and is waiting for a New Zealand visa.

"They are torturing people. We've lost a decade of our life in here. They don't want to stop it, and it still continues," he said.

"There are some people in here who really need medical attention.

"They can do something for the sick people in here, we have some guys in here that really need help."

A Home Affairs department spokesperson said the PNG government had full responsibility for the individuals since 2022.

"The PNG government is providing a permanent migration pathway in PNG for all individuals who want to make PNG their home and supporting individuals pursuing other third country migration options to remain temporarily until they depart PNG," he said.

"The PNG government provides individuals remaining in PNG with assistance to access secure and sustainable accommodation in the community, welfare and health services."