10 May 2005

PNG Eco-Forestry Forum critical of minister's advertisements

4:10 am on 10 May 2005

The Papua New Guinea Eco-Forestry Forum has been strongly critical of newspaper advertisements placed by the Forest Minister defending his new Forestry Amendment Bill.

The Forum describes the claim by the minister, Patrick Pruaitch, that all timber permits are issued following due process as "a complete joke".

It says the minister obviously hasn't read the various Ombudsman reports, Review and Audit reports which state all these permits and extensions didn't follow due process, and were unlawful.

The Forum says that, as well as denying the truth about permit allocations, the Minister's advertisements misled Parliament and the public, over the impact of the new Forestry Bill.

It says the adverts deny the changes will remove landowners rights and increase political control over the Forest Board.

Despite the Minister's claims, the Forum says the changes will take away all the rights, of landowners and local politicians, to be consulted on the choice of logging company.

The Forum is also challenging the Minister's bid to remove the Forum's position on the Forest Board.