Papua New Guinea's government to review the country's Land Acts | Pacific Beat

Papua New Guinea's government to review the country's Land Acts

Papua New Guinea's government to review the country's Land Acts

Updated 8 February 2013, 19:49 AEDT

Papua New Guinea's government says it will review PNG's Land Acts which governs both state and customary owned land to improve land acquisition, registration, mobilisation and use in the country.

Lands and Physical Planning Minister Benny Allan says it's been prompted by a high demand for land triggered by population growth and increased business investments.

Presenter: Firmin Nanol

Speaker: Lands and Physical Planning Minister Benny Allan, The Governor of Enga province, Peter Ipatas,The outspoken Governor for PNG's Oro province Garry Zuffa, PNG's Higher Education, Science and Technology Minister, David Arore

Minister Allan told parliament it is one of his ministry's work plans for three years, from 2013 to 2015 to ensure land is managed and used properly in the country.

He says the Land Act of 1996 was drawn up to cater for land registration and use when demand was less, but that's changed with a boom in population and business wanting more land for expansion and opportunities.

The Minister said this in his ministerial statement to parliament this week, adding equal opportunity should be accorded to all citizens to own and use land.

He also told parliament PNG's Lands department is also working towards computerising its land use, lease, lands title registration and related information.

Many members of parliament supported the Minister's plans to PNG's Land laws and raised concerns that state land is not properly managed.

The Governor of Enga province, Peter Ipatas says he supports the review but says the department should address instances of alleged and or perceived bad practices in issuing land titles.

He says senior lands officers should ensure people and businesses get land titles through proper means.

The outspoken Governor for PNG's Oro province Garry Zuffa was blunt.

He says land and its resources must be protected and conserved for the future and should not be give away cheaply to foreign interests.

PNG's Higher Education, Science and Technology Minister, David Arore whilst debating on the Lands Minister Benny Allan's statement, called on the government to address some of its undeveloped land sitting idle in most parts of the country.

He says many people and or businesses get titles but do not develop them and such titles should be forfeited to unlock it for development.

Over 97 percent of the land in PNG is customary owned and government owns 3 percent alienated land.

Members have raised concerns, much of the state land in urban areas s being taken over through improper means and should be stopped.

They said during debate in parliament, one way land was grabbed is through a dubious Special Agriculture Business Leases-SABLs, which prompted and investigation into it.

The findings of a government sanctioned Commission of Inquiry into the SABLs is expected to be tabled in parliament soon.

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