17 Jun 2008

New Ireland push for autonomy within PNG over Lihir youth

1:36 pm on 17 June 2008

The Governor of Papua New Guinea's New Ireland province says concern for the young people of Lihir is motivating his push for autonomy.

Sir Julius Chan announced last week that New Ireland would push for autonomy within PNG under the changes made to the Organic Law in 1995 when he was the prime minister.

He says the national government has failed to meet its contract in terms of development tied to the launch of the Lihir gold mine.

Sir Julius wants to see the province on a better footing, in terms of infrastructure and other development for when the Lihir mine eventually closes down.

"We are talking about 10,000 people and more who will not be attuned to the normal way of life, the subsistence level of life. They wouldn't know very much the younger generation about planting potato and yams and coconut and cocoa to earn a living. You know they are living off these handouts from the mining royalties."

Sir Julius Chan