Judge Approves Seventy Million Compensation To Manus Detainees

Settlement reached

Judge Approves Seventy Million Compensation To  Manus Detainees

At least 1400 current and former Manus Island detainees should receive their share of $70 million in compensation before the offshore immigration detention centre closes next month.

Victorian Supreme Court Justice Cameron Macaulay on Wednesday approved the settlement reached with the Australian government and operators of the Manus Island Regional Processing Centre.

Some detainees had objected to the $70 million in compensation being too low, but Justice Macaulay concluded it was a fair and reasonable amount.

"I am comfortably satisfied that a figure of $70 million to be distributed without deduction of costs amongst participating group members is a fair and reasonable sum," he said.

"My degree of satisfaction is not merely marginal but is reached with a strong degree of conviction."

Justice Macaulay noted the urgency of the settlement given that the centre is due to be closed by October 31.

"I accept that the need for urgency is well founded," he said.

By Monday 1383 of the 1923 group members in the class action had registered to get their share of the compensation.

More than 160 of the almost 800 men who remain on Manus ahead of the offshore immigration detention centre's closure next month raised objections with the court.

The independent counsel appointed to assist the court, Michael Rush, on Monday said 145 of the 164 objectors have registered to participate in the settlement should it be approved.

Mr Rush said the objections included that the overall sum of $70 million is too low and the settlement does not resolve the ongoing plight of the group members who remain on Manus Island or whose claims for refugee status are still to be determined.

No money can be paid until the end of a 28-day appeal period, which begins now that Justice Macaulay has approved the settlement.

During that period, further attempts would also be made to reach the 215 group members who have not been able to be contacted about the settlement, with the deadline for registrations pushed back by a couple of weeks to October 13.

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