3 May 2005

PNG Forestry Minister rejects claim a new forest bill will reduce rights and lead to rampant logging

8:07 pm on 3 May 2005

Papua New Guinea's Forest Minister denies that a new Forestry Bill will remove the rights of forest resource owners and provincial governments.

Patrick Pruaitch says the draft legislation which will be tabled before parliament this month does not take away anyone's representation at all.

The claims have been made by the Eco Forestry Forum which says the bill will also promote rampant unsustainable logging and give Mr Pruaitch more power.

But Mr Pruaitch says the bill stemmed from wide consultations with provincial governments, landowners and the Forum.

He says the Forum is concerned that it will lose the most if the bill is passed.

"We are saying that there are other communities at large, non government organisations, who can participate in decision making process - not necessarily the Eco Forestry Forum. That's what we're saying in this particular ammendment. And for the eco forestry forum president to take out an advertisement in the newspaper, and lobbying support from MP's is totally irresponsible."

Patrick Pruaitch says the government needs to do what's best for the forestry industry and the economy.