No Log Exports

Source: Post Courier

FOREST Minister Douglas Tomuriesa has assured parliament that the Government will phase out round log exports and encourage domestic processing.

"We will not renew any more FMA (Forest Management Authority), FCA (Forest Clearance Authority) or timber permit," Mr Tomuriesa said.

"We will comply to the NEC direction that says that following cabinet endorsement, the Minister for Forest in September 2009 announced the government policy to gradually phase out round log exports and increase domestic processing."

Mr Tomuriesa said in line with the new policy, new forest management areas or timber concessions will be allocated to support downstream processing with no round log export entitlements.

He said existing timber concession holders will enter into negotiations with the State to phase out round log exports.

"Domestic timber processing will be promoted vigorously as part of our 2010-2030 Development Strategic Plan and also we want to promote sustainable logging development in the country."

He made the statement as part of his response to questions from Manus MP Ronny Knight on concerns about logging on Manus.

"There is a lot of illegal activities happening in the country right now and it involves some of the big operators," Mr Tomuriesa said.

"I have been six weeks on the job and I ask the people of PNG, landowner groups and Members of Parliament to be patient, we are getting there. There are processes in place and if some operators who abuse these processes, we will revisit their agreements.

"We will go through and make certain that one of the things that logging industry has missed out in this country is their community obligation to the people, and we will make sure we get down to the bottom and make sure they meet their community obligation."