Government hit over land grab in Wantok adverts

NGOs in Papua New Guinea have published two full-page advertisements in this weeks tok pisin language Wantok newspaper criticizing the government over its alienation of more than 5 million hectares of customary land.

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Is Papua New Guinea heading for disaster?

By Patrick Seleng 

The opposition has sought the Supreme court's interpretation on the number of sitting days after the speaker gagged the Parliament. About 1 year ago I wrote that the opposition's attempt to take this matter to Supreme court was a waste of time and money as Somare has outsmarted and outwitted Mekere and his opposition team. Up to now, there is no mention of this in the mainstream media, infact, this matter is given the hugest hiding. 

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Government wants to expand leases to cover 20% of Papua New Guinea

Lands and Physical Planning Minister, Lucas Dekena, has confirmed the government has handed out 99-year leases covering more than than 5 million hectares of customary land and revealed that the government intends to double the number of leases so they cover 20% of Papua New Guinea's land mass.

The Minister has rejected the widespread criticism of the Special Agriculture Business Leases (SABL) and said the state had no choice as it wanted to free up land for development because more than 95% of the land was owned by the customary landowners.

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Lands Secretary response on agriculture leases fails to address the real issue

While addressing members of the media and NGO groups, on Thursday 21st April, the Acting Secretary for the Department of Lands, Romilly Kila-Pat, made comments to the effect that the State has no control over business dealings between customary landowners and foreign businesses after a Special Agricultural Business Lease (SABL) title is registered.

This statement missed the point completely and failed to address the main issue and surrounding the controversial SABLs issued over 5.2 million hectares customary land throughout Papua New Guinea.

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ACT NOW! calls on government to end land grab leases

In a conference last Wednesday, the Lands Department vowed to take action on land deals in Papua New Guinea - deals in which control of more than 5 million hectares of land, 10% of PNGs land mass, has been taken away from local people and given to corporations.

While Acting Lands Secretary, Romilly Kila Pat, might have been personally sincere in his call to address the issues, he also said it was going to be a “long process”.

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Landowners give Hickey 14 days to provide answers on land grab

The people from seven villages in the Bogia district of Madang have given their MP John Hickey 14 days to provide answers on how their land has been given away without their knowledge and consent.

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Papua New Guinea land reform is a sham

Post Courier editorial

Is the present Government involved in a conspiracy to take over all customary land in Papua New Guinea?

We ask this question because we are alarmed at the manner and rate at which the Special Agricultural and Business Leases (SABLs) are granted to date. According to our records, 5,114,911.85 hectares of customary land have been leased, much of the leases granted in the last two years.

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Pacific being forced to follow the wrong model of development

From Radio Australia 

Land alienation is a problem not just in Papua New Guinea but across Melanesia, and it has the potential to have a catastrophic affect on Melanesian society, according to one of the region's most experienced anthropologists.

Kirk Huffman, a former Director of the Vanuatu Cultural Centre and a Research Associate at the Australian Museum says, when it comes to land, even well-meaning investors and aid donors in Melanesia have the wrong model of development. 

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