17 Jun 2008

PNG's government failure to meet commitments prompts New Ireland autonomy move.

10:01 am on 17 June 2008

A move by the Papua New Guinea province of New Ireland to seek autonomy has been partly prompted by what it says is the National Government's failure to meet commitments made when the huge Lihir gold mine was started.

The New Ireland Governor, former Prime Minister, Sir Julius Chan, says the autonomy his government wants is allowed for in changes made to the Organic Law in 1995.

He says when the province gave the go ahead for the Lihir mine the National Government had committed to specific projects, such as a major highway, international air and seaports and a hospital.

Sir Julius says none of this has happened and the Government has been in breach of contract from day one.

"When the people went to grant the mining lease the National Government promised very specific projects that must be built immediately from day one. Now up to now, it is almost 14 years since then and none of these projects have been progressed whatsoever."

Sir Julius Chan.