The first group of asylum seekers to be sent to Manus Island under the new deal with PNG are expected to arrive from the end of the week as Prime Minister Kevin Rudd indicated that the surge in boat arrivals sparked by Labor's hardline Papua New Guinea refugee resettlement plan is unlikely to be brought under control before the federal election.
Immigration Minister Tony Burke said he was not working to a deadline of how quickly he could get people to Manus Island.
''I've always said they'll be sent when the health checks are complete,'' Mr Burke told Sky News on Monday. ''The health checks take in the order of about two weeks. So, that two week period that I initially flagged would take us through to Friday.
''My deadline is when health checks are complete, people can go across,'' he said.
Mr Burke also confirmed that a ''rapid expansion'' of Manus Island's capacity was currently under way, with tents and marquees being put up and fixed structures being built at a slower rate.
The Department of Immigration and Citizenship has released more photographs of cargo planes being loaded with equipment bound for the Manus Island processing centre.
Later on Monday, the fourth and final plane loaded with equipment for Manus Island will arrive at Port Moresby - to be then transferred to a smaller cargo plan headed to the island detention centre.
Each plane has carried 10 shipping containers packed with tents, marquees, poles, frames and building equipment.
On Sunday, Mr Rudd conceded that it could take ''many months'' until Australia sees fewer boats, despite the arrival of 1300 people on 16 boats since he announced the Government's hardline PNG plan on July 19.
The policy change sparked a surge in boat arrivals with the seventeenth carrying 83 asylum seekers was spotted off the coast of Christmas Island on Thursday, Home Affairs Minister Jason Clare said.
In an interview recorded before his visit to Afghanistan, Mr Rudd would not commit to any prospect that the policy would begin to show results before voters make their choice - some time before mid-November.
''What I said when I launched the policy . . . a week or so ago, was that we would need to see the implementation of this policy over a period of time and its effect over many months,'' Mr Rudd told Channel Ten.
In announcing the PNG plan, Mr Rudd did not specifically mention that it could take many months but warned that people smugglers would ''test our resolve for the period ahead''.
On Sunday, Opposition Leader Tony Abbott suggested Mr Rudd was not "fair dinkum" when it came to his new asylum seeker policy as no one had yet been transferred under the new scheme.
''Not a single person, not one, has yet gone to Manus Island under Mr Rudd’s PNG solution. So, he is just not fair dinkum and that is why in any contest of wills between Mr Rudd and the people smugglers, the people smugglers think they will win."
Mr Abbott said Mr Rudd's lack of resolve on boats in the past was the reason his latest announcement had failed to turn the tide.
''In any contest of wills between Mr Rudd and the people smugglers, the people smugglers think they will win. This government said, back in late 2011, that they would have processing in PNG but in two years, they've only developed the capacity for 300 people. So this is really yet another example of the fact that this government is all announcement and no delivery.''
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