12 Sep 2006

Former PNG Treasurer backs NGOs calls for inquiry into forestry industry

7:55 pm on 12 September 2006

Papua New Guinea's sacked treasurer, Bart Philemon, is supporting calls for another commission of inquiry into Papua New Guinea's forestry sector.

The Lae MP was critical of the government siding with logging companies without addressing allegations of human rights abuse and forestry law breaches raised by non-government organisations.

The newspaper, the Post Courier, reports Mr Philemon as saying the goverment's image is tainted because PNG hasn't done anything but try to refute some of the allegations from Greenpeace.

He has raised the concern about the prime minister Sir Michael Somare's reluctance to discuss forestry issues.

He says for four years the prime minister blocked his attempts to set up internal audits in the National Forest Authority and National Fisheries Authority.

The PNG Eco-Forestry Forum has called for a commission of inquiry.