13 Sep 2013

Cut backs likely in PNG's Special Agricultural Business Leases

6:52 pm on 13 September 2013

Papua New Guinea's Minister of Lands and Physical Planning Benny Allen says the government is looking at reducing the size of the Special Agricultural Business Leases.

The Prime Minister Peter O'Neill has signalled he is about to table in parliament the long-awaited report by the Commission of Inquiry into the SABL system.

Mr Allen says the leases - some of which covered up to a million hectares - were problematic because their size meant various issues where multiple landowner groups were involved.

He says complaints they get about SABLs often relate to investors who take over huge portions of land on the pretext of starting an agricultural project but in reality it is about logging.

"They're not complying with the Forestry Act or Agricultural laws that they are supposed to follow. As they do their logging, they should at least replant trees or do agricultural activities or projects - that's not happening. We will look at reducing the size of the SABLs."

Benny Allen