25 Jul 2009

Former PNG PM Chan urges provinces to seek autonomy

8:27 am on 25 July 2009

Papua New Guinea's former Prime Minister and the Governor of New Ireland, Sir Julius Chan, has urged provinces to seek autonomy if they want to properly care for their people.

The newspaper, The National, reports that Sir Julius, who is pushing the autonomy cause for his province, says this is the only option left if provinces want to access funds to provide and maintain services and infrastructure.

He says provincial administrations can no longer rely on the national government which he says squanders public money on self-interested politicians.

As part of the move towards autonomy, New Ireland is working with other provinces to change the Mining Act 1992 and the Oil and Gas Act 1998.

Sir Julius says these Acts were passed without public consultation, allowing the theft of resources from PNG landowners.

The Governor is frustrated that benefits from the Lihir and Simberi mines aren't returning to his province but are going to the National Government.

He says New Ireland is still owed 35 million US dollars under the Lihir memorandum of agreement.