There is no doubt an asylum seeker processing centre on Manus Island can cope with a large increase of detainees, Immigration Minister Tony Burke says.

Mr Burke made a two hour visit to the temporary facility on Lombrum Naval base on Thursday, almost a week after the government announced its controversial "PNG solution" to send asylum seekers to Papua New Guinea.

Accompanied by Australian high commissioner Deborah Stokes, Mr Burke talked with staff and detainees and says minimum welfare standards are being observed.

"I have no doubt at all that a processing centre here on Manus can operate even with a significantly increased capacity," he told journalists.

"They are always difficult locations by definition. No one can pretend that that sort of environment is anything but.

"In terms of making sure that the standards are there - that people have been given the opportunity for recreation, that people are being treated with dignity with the proper welfare supports that is around them - what I saw today is in line with most of the principles I want."

He expects new arrivals to come to the centre within two weeks.

Mr Burke's visit comes amid accusations of sexual assaults and suicide attempts at the facility.

Mr Burke said he had spoken with former Manus centre employee Rod St George, who on Tuesday told SBS acts of self-harm and attempted suicide were occurring "almost daily", as well as sexual assaults.

"I had a good conversation with him, but he still hasn't been able to give me names of victims or perpetrators," he said. "Nor have there been formal reports of those."

The head of Manus Island's only hospital said he had not treated anyone with sexual assault-related injuries from the centre.

Police on the island also said they had not been informed of any alleged rapes.

Opposition Leader Tony Abbott on Thursday announced the coalition's policy to tackle people smugglers.

Operation Sovereign Borders, as it would be known, would be established within 100 days of taking government and encompass all 12 agencies involved in border security.

The chief of the defence force would appoint a three star general to oversee the program, who would report directly to the immigration minister.

Mr Burke dismissed the announcement, saying the government's policy took away the product people smugglers are selling.

"Tony Abbott can announce what he wants," Mr Burke said.

"Tony Abbott on the sidelines wants to announce different things, he can go for it.

"We've got a policy to implement and we're implementing it."

On Wednesday a group of 70 detainees were flown from the centre, bound for Australia in preparation for new arrivals.

Mr Burke said a small number of detainees facing assault and other charges would stay in PNG as their cases are processed.