By HELEN TARAWA
Prime Minister Peter O’Neill yesterday announced the appointment of Gulf Governor Chris Haiveta as part of the State negotiaton team on the Elk-Antelope LNG Project in his province.
O’Neill told Parliament Haiveta’s appointment followed the precedent set by the Somare government in the first PNG LNG project where the governors of Southern Highlands and Hela were involved in negotiations. He made the announcement after Haiveta asked him a series of questions relating to the Elk-Antelope project.
“In terms of the second LNG project for the Elk Antelope, I want to inform Parliament that we have also included the governor for Gulf in the State negotiation team so that he can co-opt in that ministerial committee,” O’Neill said.
“Those kinds of accommodation are taking place at all levels of Government.
“It’s very important that we have a very open dialogue between the different levels of Government and stakeholders, so that there is meaningful participation.
“Now we have all sorts of clans popping up and it’s a difficult and cumbersome exercise.
“That’s what we are trying to avoid and make sure that the developers take on the responsibility as stipulated in the Oil and Gas Act and in the Mining Act.
“They must identify and do the social mapping properly so that the right benefits are going to the rightful landowners and stakeholders.
“We will do everything possible so that our people participate meaningfully in these development of resources throughout the country.”
O’Neill said he did not want to repeat the mistakes of the first LNG where landowners were not properly identified.
“Now we are having difficult process of clan-vetting,” he said.
“I’m aware that in industries such as forestry and fisheries, there is extensive consultation that takes place between the provinces and the national department or authority.
“Unfortunately, sometimes those who are being tasked to these consultations are probably lacking in communication between themselves, or sometimes politics takes the better of it and that communication and consolation doesn’t take place.” O’Neill said legislation on the consultation process may be reviewed to make it compulsory, with time limitations.
By HELEN TARAWA