Australian govt Nauru
by Sydney Morning Herald.
A Nauru politician fears the Australian government's planned shutdown of an offshore immigration centre will hurt the impoverished nation.
Nauru MP and former Health Minister Kieran Keke is calling on Australia to continue to fund development projects in Nauru.
Prime Minister Kevin Rudd has said his government will move "at a very early stage" to shut Australia's offshore immigration detention centre on Nauru.
"The financial arrangement with Australia, combined with initiatives like the resumption of phosphate mining, has helped turn the country around from the brink of economic collapse and given our people a much brighter future to look forward to," Keke said in a statement.
"We sincerely hope the Australian government will continue to support our efforts to upgrade our health and education programs, to name just two.
"Restoring important infrastructure like the power system is also a priority for us. We are still on limited power supply with load shedding taking place every day."
Keke said the move to shut-down the processing centre would cost jobs and when the large contingent of Australians working there left, it would have a ripple effect on local businesses.
In August, an analysis by aid organisation Oxfam Australia and refugee advocacy group A Just Australia found Australian taxpayers had spent more than $A1 billion since 2001 to process fewer than 1,700 asylum seekers in Nauru, Manus Island and Christmas Island.
This equated to a cost of more than $A500,000 per person.
Most detainees have spent two years on Nauru, it said, with some being held for up to six years and many developing psychological illnesses in detention.
"Most, if not all, of these asylum seekers have paid a substantial personal toll through poor mental and physical health and wellbeing," the report said.
Nauru was once one of the richest per capita nations in the world thanks to its immense phosphate deposits, but in 2002 it became bankrupt.