3 Aug 2006

Fiji cabinet endorses two controversial bills

9:40 am on 3 August 2006

Fiji's multi-party cabinet has endorsed two controversial legislative Bills which have previously met with strong opposition.

Fiji TV reports that one is the Qoliqoli Bill which will hand over control of traditional fishing grounds from the state to their indigenous owners.

Another is the Indigenous Claims Tribunal Bill which will hear claims from indigenous groups who consider they were unfairly deprived of their land and resources in early colonial times.

The Qoliqoli Bill in particular has met with robust opposition from hotel and resort operators because of its effect on beaches and surfing areas.

The Fiji Labour Party had previously opposed the Bills but now that its ministers sit in the multi-party cabinet, they have refused to comment saying cabinet matters are confidential.

Both Bills are expected to be tabled in parliament soon.