10 Jun 2005

Public protests planned over PNG Forest Amendment Bill

10:18 am on 10 June 2005

Further protests are planned at the Parliament in the Papua New Guinea capital Port Moresby today with the Forest Minister, Patrick Pruaitch, expected to table the Forest Amendment Bill.

It was expected to have happened yesterday but standing orders were suspended.

Forestry campaigners are opposed to the way Mr Pruaitch has added to the bill after it was put forward by the Forest Board.

Ken Mondiai of the Eco-Forestry Forum, and a Forest Board member, says Mr Pruaitch has introduced changes, such as putting his own, and industry representatives on the board, and denying access for other interested parties.

"The minister is trying to remove the rights of the landowners to be consulted. And also the provincial governments and the national MPs from the areas where forestry development is going to take place. This right has been removed under this amendment to the act."