The National, Monday July 8th, 2013
PEOPLE in the New Guinea Islands region will now be able to access land services with the establishment of the regional Lands and Physical Planning office in Kokopo, East New Britain.
Opening the building last Friday, Lands and Physical Planning Minister Benny Allan said in order to render effective land services to people, the department had moved to establish regional offices nationwide.
The department will open offices in Morobe and Eastern Highlands and has established its new office in Waigani, which will be opened in November.
He said in 2007, the National Land Development taskforce, in its findings, made recommendations to the government on how best land issues could be addressed and one that called for custom built offices to be built nationwide to improve land service delivery.
“We are now moving away from Waigani into the regions because our people need to access land services closer to where they live so they utilise their land to better their lives,” Allan said.
“The department has had its fair share of negative perceptions by the general public over the years and we are committed to driving change by improving systems and processes and making legislative reviews of all land laws.”
He said the Land Act review had been completed and was now with the Constitutional Land Reform Commission for drafting and should be referred to Parliament to be debated in this month’s sitting.
Allan also said others being reviewed were the Surveying, Physical Planning, Valuation and Land Registration Acts.
“While mapping is being proposed to be a new legislation, it is very important that these reviews were undertaken sooner than later as the level of activities have increased dramatically in recent times and land laws need to be responsive to the environment rather than being an impediment.”
Allan commended East New Britain for fully embracing the land reform programmer, saying on record the province had done well.
The occasion was attended by Deputy Prime Minister, Leo Dion, Lands and Physical Planning Secretary Romilly Kila Pat, East New Britain Deputy Governor Boniface Setavo and acting provincial administrator Wilson Matava.