5 Aug 2005

Papua New Guinea MPs change forestry law to maximise revenues

10:12 am on 5 August 2005

Lawmakers in Papua New Guinea have approved the Forestry Amendment Act.

The government says the streamlined laws will help the sustainable management of forests whilst maximising revenues.

But opponents say the law takes away the rights of customary landowners and provincial authorities to have a say on who can can fell trees on their land.

The governor of Eastern Highlands, Malcolm Smith-Kela, says he voted against the legislation because he says logging companies don't fulfil their promises.

"...and if you go to a place like New Ireland, that was logged some 25 years ago, sustainably, the roads are gone, there are no schools, there are no aid posts, and more importantly, there are no trees, so how can it be sustainable?"

Governor Smith-Kela

Another opponent of the law, the Huon Gulf MP Sasa Zibe says it goes against almost all of the goals and directive principles of the PNG Constitution.