19 Feb 2008

Australia's Returned Services League calls for compromise over PNG Kokoda Track mining

12:05 pm on 19 February 2008

Australia's Returned and Services League is pushing for compromise over the sensitive issue of mining near Papua New Guinea's Kokoda Track.

Some landowners have been blockading part of the historic Kokoda Track where Australian troops fought Japanese in world War II.

They're protesting at the delay by PNG's government in renewing the license for Australian mining company Frontier Resources to explore the Kokoda area for copper and gold.

However Australia's government is opposed to any development that could impact on the track.

But the RSL President Bill Crews says he understands their needs and feels there could be compromise between maintaining the sanctity of the track and allowing mining to progress.

"They don't want to live in poverty all their lives so they see their economic benefit out of this as well to get them, sort of, above the village poverty level. So our position is we'd like to look for a compromise; very sympathetic to all parties in this, that's why I hope a good compromise can be reached. Both sides should take a very measured approach."

RSL President Bill Crews.