Kua: Legislation for compo needed

National, Normal

The National, Thursday 28th March 2013


PNG has satisfactory land legislations but needs skilled and resourced people to deal with compensation issues, Attorney-General Kerenga Kua told parliament yesterday. 

He said land compensation issues were an impediment to many development initiatives. He was responding to West New Britain Governor Sasindran Muthuvel, who called on the government to review various land legislations that were perceived as outdated.

Kua said the current laws were satisfactory but there was a need to understand the procedures to use them.

“I feel the current legislations, which include the Land Disputes Settlements Act, the Land Titles Commission Act 1962, the Land Management Act and other legislations with land disputes and ownership, do provide a sound mechanism to receive, analyse and address such matters by law,” he said.

“We need to move away from the compensation mentality and make people aware that the work of the government is for their benefit.”

The justice minister said the government had no clear-cut solution on the issue. 

He added that developed countries had about 90% of their working-age people paying taxes, which their governments used to provide for their underage and old age population.

“In PNG, there is only 37% of the working population paying taxes and this money is used to provide services to the vast majority.”

Kua said the government did not have the money to pay continued land compensation demands.

He said when making claims to the state, people needed to look back to determine the nature of the deals or contracts.

Kua said in the case of people living along the Highlands highway, they needed to understand the deal that made and allow the state to move freely to implement its development initiatives without having to pay compensation.

“I will not entertain any compensation claims for my people of Chimbu. 

“They have already set a bad precedent by acquiring K50 million as part of rehabilitation work along the Highlands highway,” he said.

Muthuvel said he raised the land legislation and compensation issues because there have been a lot of stumbling blocks for compensation demands in his endeavour to develop a four-lane road and provide basic infrastructure in his province.