14 May 2002

Fiji government to introduce new land lease measures in next parliamentary session

5:39 am on 14 May 2002

Fiji's prime minister, Laisenia Qarase, says his government will introduce a new formula for the leasing of indigenous land in the July sitting of parliament.

Mr Qarase says this would replace the current Agricultural Landlord and Tenant Act or ALTA and be fair to both the landowners and the tenants.

He says consultations with stakeholders will take place between now and July although he admits none have taken place so far.

Mr Qarase says the Fiji Labour Party would be included in the discussions because their support would be needed to pass the legislation.

This is because land matters and other entrenched legislation require a two-thirds vote to be passed

The Sugar Cane Growers Council, which represents the country's 22 thousand cane farmers, says they have not been consulted but would be happy to look at the new proposal.

Meanwhile, the attorney-general Qoriniasi Bale has confirmed the current ALTA law would be repealed and replace by the Native Land Act.

Until now farmers have been opposed to leasing under that legislation because they say it does not give them adequate security of tenure.