He arrived in P-N-G from Nauru, where he inspected the immigration detention facility there.
Mr Bowen is in Port Morseby, where he met officials from both countries to discuss progress.
For an update on the story Bruce Hill spoke to Liam Fox in Port Moresby.
Presenter: Bruce Hill
Speaker: Liam Fox, Australia's Immigration Chris Bowen, Papua New Guinea's Prime Minister, Peter O'Neill
HILL: Did Mr Bowen give any indication of any local businesses being involved in Manus ?
FOX: Look, that's been one of the demands by Manus Islanders. By far and away, everyone there is very supportive of the reopening of this processing centre and Australia has agreed to provide a development assistance package over and above its development and assistance package for the entirety of PNG and everyone's very happy about that on Manus Island. But many people say that's not enough. They also want local businesses to be involved. They say that that didn't happen when the detention centre was first opened under the Australian government of John Howard and they say that can't happen again, that local businesses have to be involved in building and maintaining and supplying this processing centre and Chris Bowen when asked about those concerns said that where possible local businesses and locals will be employed and here's a little bit of what he had to say.
BOWEN: Inevitably, yes, of course, Australia will be entering into contracts and they'll be specialised work to do. But we're very keen as I said to start with, to ensure good benefits for the people of Manus Island and we will need provisions of goods and services and employees.
I said to the Prime Minister, an example there yesterday, I was in Nauru. I met some of the Nauraun employees of the regional processing centre there. It was the first job that many of them had had in several years. It really is having an economic impact and I would envisage the same happening in Manus Island. So we'll be making it clear to our service providers and our constructers that wherever we can reasonably use local content that that's a good thing that should be done.
HILL: Liam, there are some people in PNG that believe that this move is actually unconstitutional?
FOX: That's right, one group is the Catholic C hurch and a lawyer who works for the Catholic Church, Paul Harrikman, has said that he believes it's unconstitutional and indeed during the Howard era, the detention centre which I mentioned earlier. Mr. Harrickman and the now governor of the MCD, Powes Parkop, launched a legal challenge to the then detention centres legality and the reason they believe it's not lawful, is because PNG's Constitution only allows the lengthy detention of people if they've been charged with a criminal offence. Those concerns were put to PNG's Prime Minister, Peter O'Neill, and he essentially brushed aside those concerns and here's what he had to say.
O'NEILL: It is not a detention centre, it is a processing centre.
FOX: They're being detained behind a high fence though, aren't they?
O'NEILL: Not necessarily. I think Manus Islanders have already stated that they are free to move around in the community as freely as possible. But you must realise that there are processes that needs to be followed and we will do our best to making sure that they are looked after in a most humane possible manner.
HILL: Liam, Chris Bowen is saying that the timetable for reopening the centre is a matter of weeks, that seems awfully fast. Is that realistic?
FOX: Yes, it's realistic. I spoke to one of his aides who said and I asked him how will these people be housed, this first load of asylum seekers. He said depending on how the work is progressing on Manus Island by Australian soldiers who've been there for over a fortnight now. They'll either be housed in refurbished accommodation or in tents that will be erected because the accommodation is not ready.
HILL: So what kind of work is being done on the processing centre at the moment?
FOX: Well, as I mentioned, the detention centre was opened by the Howard government in 2001. It was closed in 2004 if I remember correctly, so it's been derelict for many years and it was in a very dilapidated state when I visited there about a month ago. Light fittings have been torn out and stolen, fans, airconditioners, people have even tried to pull off the security screens on windows. So it's a massive job to refurbish the centre and that would be the work that they're doing there trying to refurbish, trying to refit what's there, trying to salvage what buildings can be salvaged and ultimately building new ones. But they won't be able to complete all of that work, so that's why the possibility is there that the first load of asylum seekers anyway will be housed in tents as they are on Nauru.
HILL: Liam, how are the locals on Manus Island reacting to this? What do they think of the idea?
FOX: Look, by far and away, most Manus Islanders are very happy that this is happening. It will be a much needed economic boost to Manus Island. It will be the biggest business on the island. And as I said before, they're very happy that it's going ahead and that there will be a development assistance package provided by Australia for Manus Island, that will look at things like improving the health clinics, improving schools, improving roads, that's above and beyond the existing aid package to PNG. But many people, including local landowners have said that that is not enough, that's great, but it's not enough. We also want local businesses to be involved, because last time this happened, most of the businesses involved were either from mainland PNG or indeed were Australian companies.