3 Nov 2004

Solomons Forestry Association wants government bill withdrawn and re-drafted

11:28 am on 3 November 2004

The Solomon Islands Forestry Association has called for futher community consultation on the government's proposed new Forest Bill 2004

The Association says the bill should be subject to wide public comment and debate, and then be re-drafted before being submitted to Parliament.

It says ultimately Parliament must decide the future of the forest industry, but only after all the stakeholders, including customary landowners, have been fully informed and consulted.

The Association says recent publicity which suggested that the Bill is designed to protect landowners from the logging companies,and that there has been wide consultation, that the logging industry is against reform,and that the logging companies are corrupt, is an ill informed statement which misrepresents the true character of the Bill.

The Association says that the Bill does not protect landowners, adding that the Bill will make it practically impossible for customary landowners, to be able to obtain a commercial harvesting licence unless they already hold a timber licence.

The Forest Association says it is not against reform, but wants a reform that is more practicable and not an illusion.