THE removal of children and families from Manus Island because of poor conditions is proof the Federal Government was "never serious about offshore detention", Opposition Leader Tony Abbott says.
The Department of Immigration confirmed 70 people, comprising families and 30 single men, had been removed from Manus Island.
Mr Abbott said Opposition immigration spokesman Scott Morrison had raised concerns about the conditions on Manus Island following a visit earlier this year.
He said the removal of asylum seekers from Papua New Guinea would only add to an increase in boat arrivals.
"He (Mr Morrison) said then that the facilities that the Government had in mind were not going to work for women and children and what's going to result from this latest change by the government is that there will be even more incentive for the people smugglers to pack their boats with women and children because plainly women and children are going to be processed in Australia and that sends exactly the wrong signal to the people smugglers," Mr Abbott said.
It came as the Federal Government confirmed the arrival of three more asylum-seeker boats.