27 Apr 2004

Fiji parliamentary committee to look at land lease problems

4:01 pm on 27 April 2004

The Fiji government and the Labour Party have agreed to set up a joint parliamentary select committee to try to solve the country's land lease and sugar industry problems.

Radio Legend says the prime minister, Laisenia Qarase, has told parliament that the select committee on land will review the Native Lands Trust Act which will replace the current ALTA legislation.

Mr Qarase says Nalta is the legislation that will protect the tenants as well as the landowners.

Mr Qarase says he wants to give an assurance that the government will be open to suggestions for incorporating into the Native Lands Trust Act further provisions from ALTA to provide tenant security.

"There is another issue I wish to put to the House. The sugar industry, which is so closely aligned with land policies, must be rebuilt on a foundation that is viable and strong. We cannot do that when the landowners' share is so marginal. Again I do not think that view is particularly partisan."

Mr Qarase says he wants to promote a positive attitude among landowners and ensure that access to land continues.