Form companies to reclaim State land after expiry date: Minister


LANDS Minister John Rosso says landowners who wish to reclaim State land after the expiration of long-term leases can do so by forming companies to apply for the land.
Rosso said this would be the preferred course of action for locals to have control of development on their traditional land, but the companies formed would need to be able to develop the acquired land.
“It is good for a landowner company to take over the State-leased land to use for economic purposes,” he said in response to questions posed during grievance debate in Parliament yesterday.
“It is not good for the State land to be just returned back to the landowners.
“The original landowners can form a company and apply for the land lease through the Lands board.
“Then they can go to the bank and get loan to develop that expired land into a commercial plantation.”
Rosso said yesterday that there was confusion that when the State lease title expired after 99 years, it would revert back to the original landowners, however, this was not the case.
“Everyone is saying it will revert back to the original landowners,” he said.
“No it doesn’t.
“The 99-year lease, when it was acquired for whatever purposes, when it is expired, it is still with the State.
“Just imagine if all 99-year land lease expired in PNG, even we, in Parliament, will pay rental to local landowners.
“It will send the whole nation into chaos.
“So as the minister, I must protect the alienated land.”
Rosso said a good example of the landowner-developer partnership was the Roku township which was starting off in the Central.
Abau MP Sir Puka Temu asked whether the big plantations such as the Robinson River and Giadobina cocoa plantations in his district would be given back to the original land owners once their leases expired.
“The developers who had a State lease to these lands abandoned those plantations 40 years ago,” Sir Puka said.
“Those former plantations are far away.”