Stop child labour, says Poponawa

The National,Tuesday July 5th, 2016

Minister for Labour and Industrial Relations Benjamin Poponawa wants individuals and businesses to stop engaging children in work.
In his National Labour Day and World Day Against Child Labour message, which was read by Secretary Mary Morola, he said the grim realities did exist in the tea and coffee plantations and in logging camps, tourism activities and retail business.
“PNG offers a haven for multi-national firms and supply firms to flourish given the fact that the environment is right, the mechanisms and systems are weak, enforcement of legislations are limited, let us not make our children labour for the benefit of those bigger firms,” Poponawa said.
“We are also presented with the realities of hope and conviction that it is never too late to put a stop to this matter on elimination of child labour, the answer to this lies within ourselves.
“It takes a whole of government, business and community to address child labour and promote and foster the rights of workers and this is only exemplified by the wide spectrum of industries that we have from agriculture to mining, from marine to oil extractions.”
Poponawa said community development and education ministries and United Nations agencies, non-governmental organisations and other stakeholders were all important players in the drive.
He said his department was committed to launching the recently developed and endorsed National Action Plan on Child Labour for PNG which would be used as the holistic approach and intervention towards addressing child labour.
“Our government sees decent work as crucial to the sustenance of one’s life, family household and community which in turn boosts the country’s social economic outlook.
“In celebrating this important day opts to re-emphasis these agendas to the working populace in the public and private sectors.
“As the country continues to grow, we are faced with the eminent challenges of controlling the indecencies of development and these are the realities that we should be prepared to address.
“With the incentives provided by the government, the goal of achieving a child labour-free PNG is not so distant, our time to act is now.”