Community Advocacy group ACT NOW! says while it welcomes the Prime Minister's statement that illegal SABL leases need to be revoked, the delays in implementing this commitment are totally unacceptable.
On Thursday Prime Minister Peter O’Neill announced he is appointing a Ministerial committee to look into implementing the Commission of Inquiry recommendation that illegal leases be revoked.
"In September 2013 the Prime Minister accepted the Commission findings and said he had appointed a task force to look at the recommendations. Now five-months on and we have nothing from the Task Force and the Prime Minister has announced a Ministerial Committee to do another review”, says ACT NOW! Program Coordinator Effrey Dademo.
"While Prime Minister O'Neill says his government will start canceling the illegal leases, he has set no time frame and is handing off responsibility for implementation to the very same government departments responsible for the corrupt deals".
"It is simply unacceptable that the government has sat on this for five-months, still not one single lease has been revoked and now the Prime Minister is announcing more delays."
"Meanwhile landowners are growing increasingly frustrated at the governments empty promises as every month they see millions of kina of timber stolen from their land and shipped overseas by unscrupulous logging companies aided by politicians and corrupt public servants".