13 Jan 2010

PNG housing shortage should become a government priority says official

11:36 am on 13 January 2010

A fund involved in housing construction in Papua New Guinea says addressing housing shortages and affordability should become a government priority.

Many people in PNG can't afford to buy a house, which has lead to an influx in squatter settlements.

But the National Superannuation Fund co-chief executive Rod Mitchell expects matters will get worse once construction of a project pumping gas from the Highlands and Western Province to Port Moresby begins this year.

Mr Mitchell expects about half a million people will move to the capital in the next decade lured by the LNG project, leading to a further increase in illegal settlements.

He adds the government can't ignore the problem.

"The government will have to become a partner in development. They'll have to perhaps put away land for subdivisions. They'll have to be prepared to pay for some of the infrastructure and maybe make it even tax deductible for the interest of the people who borrow for their own houses."

Rod Mitchell.