15 Apr 2004

PNG government under fire for allowing teak export breaches

5:14 pm on 15 April 2004

The executive officer of Papua New Guinea's Forest Industries Association, Robert Tate, says the government allowing the illegal export of unprocessed teak logs is jeopardising the industry's most valuable resource.

Mr Tate says the National Forest Service has allowed felling of teak from plantations it controls, and approved the export of unprocessed logs despite this being banned 13 years ago.

Regular reports of the export breaches have been ignored by the responsible government authorities.

Mr Tate says the purpose of establishing the teak plantations was to build up a high-valued domestic processing industry based on the valuable resource

But he says now they find their most valuable material being exported and the state not even collecting an export tax on them.

"If we continue on the way we are, certainly over on Rabaul, there won't be any teak left at the end of the year, if the current situation is allowed to continue - the whole resource will have been wiped out with no ongoing replanting or plantation maintenance being carried out."

The PNG Forest Industries Association's Robert Tate.