9 Apr 2003

East New Britain in Papua New Guinea begins drive for greater autonomy

4:42 pm on 9 April 2003

Papua New Guinea's province of East New Britain is preparing to negotiate with the National government for greater autonomy.

The provincial governor, Leo Dion, says his Executive Council has approved the final draft of a consultative report on greater autonomy for East New Britain.

The Post Courier newspaper reports that the Council has asked the Provincial administation to supply data on the yearly shortfall in grants owed to the province and East New Britain's gross export earnings to support its cause.

The Provincial administration has also been asked to prepare a fallback plan if the National government refuses East New Britain's request.

Mr Dion says under greater autonomy, people will have more control and say over the way the local level government should work and the types of development to be pursued.

The Post Courier reports Mr Dion saying that greater autonomy for East New Britain is long overdue.