13 Jul 2004

Australian think tank says PNG's economic survival depends on individual land ownership

3:52 pm on 13 July 2004

An Australian think tank says unless Papua New Guinea reforms its economy to encourage growth of around seven percent a year, it will become dysfunctional.

The Centre for Independent Studies, in a report titled 'Can Papua New Guinea Come Back from the Brink?" says it needs to encourage labour-intensive industries such as agriculture.

The author, Professor Helen Hughes, says PNG's social sectors are in dire straits, while there's neither jobs nor income, for most people.

She says agricultural development is a key part of this - but it can't happen while most of PNG's land remains communally owned.

"and Papua New Guinea has to do what the rest of the world has done, which is move to individual property rights so that people who want to work and make a lot of money out of their agricultural production, can."

Professor Helen Hughes.