Bonga welcomes Supreme Court decision

National, Normal

The National – Thursday, December 30, 2010

 FOREST Minister Timothy Bonga has welcomed the decision of the Supreme Court to validate the Forestry Act and the Forestry (Timber Permit Validation) Act as a land mark decision in the national interest.

“The decision demonstrates that parliament has acted responsibly and appropriately to amend the principle Forestry Act and passed new laws.”

Bonga said the Supreme Court decision also demonstrated that the government had justifiable reasons to seek parliament approval to amend the laws.

“As minister, I am pleased with the outcome of the Supreme Court reference and I want to assure the 

people of this country, particularly the forest resource owners, that neither the National 

Forest Board nor I will cause to promote illegal timber harvesting operations in this country,” Bonga said.

“We have laws and we must endeavor to follow them as we carry out our statutory responsibilities.”

He said the forest industry in this country was an important development partner and was currently the third largest revenue earner and the prime mover of development in the remote and less developed areas of the country.

“It also provides a lot of jobs for our people and many tangible and non-tangible services in our rural communities.

“The decision, therefore, is welcoming, as it provides a stable environment for the industry to continue contributing to the economic and socio-infrastructure development of the nation.”

The minister’s statement refers to a Supreme Court reference by Ken Norae Mondiai and others with respect to the Forestry Act and the Forestry Timber Permit Validation Act that appeared in The National on Monday.