29 Mar 2012

Police and soldiers off to PNG's Southern Highlands called on to apply law carefully

8:17 pm on 29 March 2012

Police and defence force personnel being deployed to LNG project sites in Papua New Guinea's Southern Highlands have been advised to be careful to apply the rule of law fairly in the region.

The government has decided on a call out order after a commitment from landowners that the blockade at the project's Hides 4 conditioning plant would be removed.

Paul Barker of the Institute of National Affairs says some within government feel that police already in the Hides area have not performed their functions properly while a series of landowner disputes have stalled the major gas project.

"Again, the government has to make sure there's a very disciplined team with an effective Police Commander on the spot who keeps his own troops in order because as soon as you get any excess behaviour by police then that can trigger off some sort of event which then causes extensive further delays and community antipathy."

Paul Barker