4 Aug 2009

Calls in PNG for Parliament to reconvene to consider land bill

10:54 am on 4 August 2009

An environmental organisation in Papua New Guinea says Parliament needs to be reconvened to consider a bill on land ownership.

Last week the government won a vote to adjourn parliament until November, in order to avoid a motion of no confidence being tabled against it by the opposition.

Non-government organisations, unions and womens groups are now urging for the Government to reconvene parliament to avoid civil unrest and damage to the economy.

Anne Kajir, the executive director of the Environment Law Centre says it is also important that parliament reconvenes to consider a private members bill that would change the ownership of natural resources from the state to landowners.

"A lot of those Papua New Guineans, or at least the communities that we have been working in are quite disgruntled at the manner that the natural resources are being developed and they feel that they need more benefits to be given to them. They want to be seen to be the owners of those natural resources and to negotiate accordingly in their own best interests."

Anne Kajir says the issue of landownership cannot wait until November.