Landowners will get land back from cancelled leases, says Tkatchenko

National

All land under special agriculture business leases (SABLs) will be returned to the customary landowners once the leases have been cancelled, says Lands and Physical Planning Minister Justin Tkatchenko.
Tkatchenko told a press conference on Monday that the land would be returned to the owners, unless they requested it to be surrendered to the State and registered under an incorporated land group (ILG).
“When we cancel any SABLs, the land does not go back to the State,” he said. “It automatically goes back to the customary landowners.
“We have given back, over the last 12 months, three million hectares to the people of PNG.”
Tkatchenko said the customary land advisory committee was currently going through the three million hectares of land that were under SABLs.
“There are 34 SABLs throughout the country that are currently going through the cancellation process through the registrar of titles’ office,” he said. “The delay was because of missing files, lack of information and lack of title files and land files accordingly.
“We have sent out teams to those areas where the missing information was, so that we can get the information from the ground.”
Tkatchenko said that in East New Britain, customary landowners wanted to surrender the SABLs to the State to be put under ILGs.
He said there was only one SABL currently in court, over 970,000ha in Western.
Tkatchenko said his department had already cancelled 19 SABLs, with 34 currently going through the process with the registrar of titles.
In the southern region, nine SABLs had been cancelled in Central, Northern, Western and Gulf — a total of 1.47 million ha of land.

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