THE Government has pointed to a law enacted by the previous administration for the widespread destruction of the country’s natural environment.
Deputy Prime Minister Sir Puka Temu said the Private Dealing Act allowed individual landowner groups to engage private companies to use their land without any consideration for the environment.
There was no requirement for them to seek approval from the national or provincial governments, he said during a visit to Sinivit in Warangoi, East New Britain province, last week.
“The act gave them the power to decide on their own on everything,” he added.
Sir Puka, who is also the Minister for Lands and Physical Planning, said the current government did not intend to make the same mistake in the mining sector.
“We are reviewing the Mining Act and will gather views from landowners, industries and the private sector,” he said.
He said there were many “con men” and “consultants” around using local people to negotiate business proposals that were not in the best interest of resource owners and the country.
“To safeguard landowners from falling into this trap, the Government has introduced the Land Reforms under which incorporated landowner groups must register their land titles before they can go into partnership with a developer to set up projects on their land.”
Governor Leo Dion said the Act had allowed foreign companies to strip the country of its timber.
“East New Britain was filled with forests but what remains now are unrepaired roads, and broken bridges at Baining and Pomio,” he said.